Andre Russell blasted 49 off 19 balls, including four fours and four sixes as Kolkata Knight Riders won by six wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad. (Image credit: Twitter)
David Warner had made a grand comeback to the IPL by blasting 85 in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s total of 181/3. Kolkata Knight Riders rode on Nitish Rana’s brilliant fifty but when a floodlight failure for close to 20 minutes halted play, Rana was trapped LBW by Rashid Khan for 68 and Kolkata Knight Riders needed 53 runs off the last three overs. The death overs were an area where Sunrisers Hyderabad excelled in the last couple of seasons. No one told that to Andre Russell, who was averaging just six against Sunrisers Hyderabad. In a blazing assault, the West Indies all-rounder blasted 19 runs in the 18th over bowled by Siddarth Kaul and 21 runs in the 19th by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Shubman Gill finished the match with two sixes off Shakib Al Hasan in the final over as Kolkata Knight Riders secured a thrilling six-wicket win against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2019 encounter at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
Russell’s brilliant 49 off 19 balls, aided by Rana’s 68 was the key in Kolkata Knight Riders winning their seventh consecutive first match in the IPL but they had to fight it out till the end after Warner’s remarkable fifty, his 37th in IPL resulted in a brilliant return. Having been left out of the 2018 IPL due to the ball-tampering scandal, Warner displayed his class against pace and spin and he was given great support from Jonny Bairstow, who made his debut in the IPL and shared a great opening stand.
The left-handed Warner got going with two boundaries off Piyush Chawla and Kolkata Knight Riders wasted a review when Chawla appealed for an LBW to a delivery that was pitching outside the line of leg stump. Bairstow thumped Chawla for a six and Warner continued to find the boundary on a regular basis, including two fours off Sunil Narine. Warner tackled Kuldeep by employing the reverse sweep and he benefited from a dropped catch by Dinesh Karthik on 39. Warner notched up his fifty by drilling Russell to the deep extra cover fence and by slicing a short ball over third man for a six.
Warner slammed a six off Kuldeep and the opening stand went past 100 but Chawla broke the stand when Bairstow misjudged a skidder to be bowled for 39. Vijay Shankar came in and slammed some big hits. Warner (85) blasted another six off Russell but was unlucky to miss out on a century as he drove a full ball to cover where Robin Uthappa took a good catch. After Warner’s wicket, Russell accounted for Yusuf Pathan (1) with a slower delivery but Shankar pushed Sunrisers Hyderabad towards a good total by clobbering a four and a six off Prasidh Krishna in the 19th over.
Chasing 182, Shakib Al Hasan struck in his first over when he removed Chris Lynn (7) cheaply. However, Rana and Uthappa steadied the ship for Kolkata Knight Riders, with the left-handed Rana hammering two fours and a six off Sandeep Sharma in the fourth over. Uthappa also rotated the strike and got some crucial boundaries and he benefited from a drop by Yusuf Pathan on 21 off the bowling of Rashid Khan. Rana neared his fifty with a slog swept six off Shakib but Siddarth Kaul broke the 80-run stand by getting rid of Uthappa with a yorker for 35.
Karthik (2) was undone by a slow knuckle ball from Sandeep Sharma but Rana kept Kolkata Knight Riders in the hunt, smashing a six off Sandeep Sharma. However, from that point, it was the Dre Russ show and his hitting at the death overs cemented his reputation as one of the best finishers in Twenty20 cricket.