IPL 8: Russell blitz seals the deal for Kolkata against Punjab


April 18, 2015

Brief Scorecard: Kolkata Knight Riders 159 for 6 (Russell 66, Pathan 28*, Sandeep 4-25) beat Kings XI Punjab 155 for 9 (Bailey 60, Maxwell 33, Umesh 3-33, Narine 1-17)

Andre Russell celebrates a wicket with his team-mates.

April 18, 2015

Brief Scorecard: Kolkata Knight Riders 159 for 6 (Russell 66, Pathan 28*, Sandeep 4-25) beat Kings XI Punjab 155 for 9 (Bailey 60, Maxwell 33, Umesh 3-33, Narine 1-17)

Andre Russell celebrates a wicket with his team-mates.

PUNE: Kolkata Knight Riders found their hero in Andre Russell, who struck a counter-attacking half-century to guide them to a four-wicket win against Kings XI Punjab after a top-order wobble at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Saturday (April 18). Russell, who had earlier returned 2 for 39 in his four overs, struck nine fours and two sixes in his whirlwind 36-ball 66.

Neither M Vijay nor Virender Sehwag were allowed much leeway at the start, and though Glenn Maxwell scored a 26-ball 33, it was George Bailey’s 45-ball 60 that was the primary reason why Punjab, put in by Gautam Gambhir, managed 155 for 9, below par under the circumstances.

Kolkata's reply had gotten off to a shaky start as they lost five wickets inside just eight overs, but a 95-run stand between Russell and Yusuf Pathan guided them home with 13 balls to spare.

Sandeep Sharma found early success, sending back Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey within five overs. While Uthappa was trapped in front, Pandey was guilty of gifting his wicket away, playing straight to Bailey at midwicket.

Suryakumar Yadav then launched a brief assault that made the Punjab fans, who had turned up in large numbers, temporarily forget which the home side was. Suryakumar was in his element as soon as he walked in, picking the length early and either driving crisply on the up or flicking to the square-leg fence. Thisara Perera ended the cameo with a slower one that Suryakumar tried to guide past slip only for Wriddhiman Saha to taking a brilliant diving catch.

Bailey bowled Sandeep Sharma out in one go, giving him the fourth over in the hope of getting Gambhir early, and the ploy worked when Sandeep evicted the Kolkata captain, who nicked one behind. Kolkata’s woes were far from over though as Sandeep trapped Ryan ten Doeschate plumb in front off the next ball and they had slipped to 60 for 5 in eight overs. Sandeep ended with figures of 4-1-25-4.

Axar Patel had much to do with Punjab losing the early advantage that Sandeep had provided. Russell struck two fours and huge six off Axar’s second over that produced 19. Mitchell Johnson, too, was punished with two boundaries that brought up the fifty-run stand in 34 balls between Yusuf and Russell.

The duo had added 95 runs, with Russell doing the bulk of the scoring, before he was bowled by Johnson with just one run left for Kolkata to score.

Earlier, Punjab rang in the changes, bringing Perera and Gurkeerat Singh in ahead of David Miller and Rishi Dhawan. But the tactical changes did more harm than good as both Perera and Gurkeerat failed to impress.

Punjab’s top order, which had taken them to decent totals in their three matches, imploded against a spirited Kolkata attack. Umesh Yadav found early success when Vijay chipped a rising delivery straight to Russell at midwicket. Saha twice found the square-leg boundary with ease, before holing out off a Morne Morkel delivery to Yusuf in the slips. A lifting delivery from Russell, which also shaped away a bit, accounted for Sehwag, and Punjab had slipped to 27 for 3 in 4.2 overs.

Maxwell, dropped by Yusuf at midwicket when on 14, briefly entertained the crowd during his stay in the middle. He struggled to shed the shackles against Sunil Narine early on, and then Piyush Chawla, but smashed a wide Morkel delivery to long-on for a towering six, and then drove a fuller one to the cover region. His stay at the crease ended when Umesh had him swatting straight to cover for Russell, who judged the catch to perfection, to do the job.

Bailey continued unperturbed. He chose the right time for a big one, first holding the innings together and then providing the momentum. After an early leg-side attack, he targeted other areas of the ground and reached a well deserved half-century in 40 deliveries, but there was very little by way of support for him.

Gurkeerat pottered around for ten balls for his 11, and Narine had his first wicket of the tournament when Axar swatted him straight to Suryakumar at long-off. All hopes of a late impetus ended when Bailey was run out, soon after smacking Morkel for a six. Punjab had managed 78 runs in the last ten overs despite losing their top four early, but it was always going to be Kolkata’s game to lose at the halfway mark. They made a meal of it, but Russell made sure things worked out well for them in the end.

Courtesy: Wisden India