KKR vs MI: Andre Russell guides Kolkata Knight Riders to victory against Mumbai Indians
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 34-run win over old nemesis Mumbai Indians (MI) despite Hardik Pandya’s fireworks in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash.Updated: Apr 29, 2019 08:35 IST
Dropped on one, Andre Russell aimed for the stars and didn’t miss by much. That Hardik Pandya put his unbeaten 40-ball 80 in the shade with a 34-ball 91 and hit one more six than the Jamaican was proof of what an effort it was by the India all-rounder.
Russell hit most of his eight sixes between midwicket and behind the bowler. Then there was one over cover off Jasprit Bumrah.
When Russell caught Quinton de Kock and then dismissed Evin Lewis off his first ball, you could have replaced ‘Muscle’ with ‘Midas’. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder then embarked on a celebration that was lifted out of the Imran Tahir playbook. When he dismissed Suryakumar Yadav with a slower full toss, Russell exhorted Eden to applaud and the full house obliged. And guess who ended Hardik Pandya’s superman effort? Russell, taking a catch at wide long-on.
Russell’s knock also had six fours, one a clever lob over third man off Hardik, which showed he could find a way out of MI’s ploy bowling wide outside off-stump.
Hardik got to IPL 12’s fastest 50, in 17 balls. His helicopter shots would have made MS Dhoni proud. Standing deep in his crease, he didn’t shy off going after Narine and Piyush Chawla either.
Against a team which has rolled them over the most number of times – MI went into this game with an 18-5 win-loss record against KKR and were unbeaten in their last eight games meetings -- the hosts arrested the slide of six successive defeats with a 34-run win after getting to 232/2, their highest of the season and second in 12 IPLs.
That happened because Russell walked in at No 3 after 9.3 overs, and after Shubman Gill, who started the innings with an on-driven four and followed that up with a cover-driven boundary to score his highest IPL score 76 (45b, 6x4, 4x6), and Chris Lynn added 96 for the first wicket.
On way to his fourth IPL 12 half-century, Lynn too got a reprieve when Kieron Pollard couldn’t pouch a difficult chance off Bumrah. By the time MI tested Lynn with spin again and introduced Rahul Chahar, the Australian was moving in the crease, hitting one four on the off-side and pulling a googly for six off the next.
Gill played most of his shots in front of the wicket but when Lasith Malinga swung in a yorker, he flicked it past fine-leg for four. One ball after Russell was dropped by Lewis, Gill danced down and hit Chahar for a six.
Russell had been clear about wanting to move up the order. On Saturday, he had also conveyed some tough love. Nitish Rana’s catch to dismiss Kieron Pollard exemplified the better effort KKR put in, and cushioned by a mammoth total, the bowlers fired 18 dot balls in the first 4.2 overs.