IPL

Russell fireworks and Yadav's best IPL figures give KKR emphatic win over Kings

By Sports Desk April 01, 2022

Andre Russell blasted a blistering unbeaten half-century and Umesh Yadav claimed his best Indian Premier League figures as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Punjab Kings by six wickets.

KKR moved to the top of the table with an emphatic victory at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday after bowling the Kings out for 137 all out off 18.2 overs.

Yadav took 4-23 off his four excellent overs as Punjab fell well short of posting a challenging target, Bhanuka Rajapaksa top scoring with 31 and Kagiso Rabada making 25 down the order on his debut.

The new-look Kings side crumbled from 62-2 in the sixth over, with dangerous duo Shikhar Dhawan and Liam Livingstone getting starts but failing to go on.

Tim Southee claimed 2-36, while Sunil Narine took 1-23 from his full compliment of overs, and Russell removed Rabada with the first ball he bowled before ending Punjab's innings by whipping off the bails to run Arshdeep Singh out off the next delivery.

Rabada removed Ajinkya Rahane, who reached the 4,000-run IPL milestone before falling for 12, and Venkatesh Iyer was dismissed by Odean Smith for only three.

It appeared to be game on when Rahul Chahar saw the back of Shreyas Iyer (26) and Nitish Rana, reducing KKR to 51-4 seven overs into their run chase.

But West Indies all-rounder Russell then took centre stage, bludgeoning 71 not out from only 31 balls in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 90 with Sam Billings to get the Knight Riders home with 33 balls to spare.

Yadav takes purple cap

Seamer Yadav set the tone by trapping Mayank Agarwal leg before in a first over of the match that went for only two runs after Shreyas Iyer won the toss and put the Kings in.

He also had Livingstone caught in the deep, cleaned Harpreet Brar up and sent Chahar on his way to become the leading wicket-taker early in the tournament with eight from three matches.

Russell fit for the Kings

Russell was an injury doubt due to a shoulder problem, but he was firing on all cylinders as he put on yet another show to take over as the leading run-scorer in the 2022 IPL.

The Jamaican powerhouse struck eight sixes in a brutal knock, three of those coming off Smith in a 12th over that went for 30 runs. Russell finished off the job in style by launching Livingstone over the rope in successive deliveries.

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    Despite the absence of the main scoreboard –which has been out for almost four years now –as well as an underprepared tabled press area, King and company ensured that the first international game at the venue since 2022, was a successful one.

    The 29-year-old, who is deputizing for compatriot Rovman Powell, attributed his Player-of-the-Match knock, which included six fours and six maximums, to the familiar conditions.

    “Obviously it is leading up to the World Cup so we want to be playing good cricket and we got the win today, so we are happy with that and I think we played well all around,” King said in a post-game interview.

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    After being asked to take first strike, King started positively, but lost opening partner Johnson Charles (one) in the fourth over with the score at 36.

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    The skipper continued to take the South African bowlers to task, before he eventually went, reaching for one of Andile Phehlukwayo that came off the toe of the bat and was caught by his opposite number Rassie van der Dussen.

    Still, at 115-2 after 11 overs, West Indies remained on course for a massive total, but then came the familiar collapse as they lost three wickets in quick succession. Mayers was first to go for a 25-ball 34, including three sixes and a solitary four, with Andre Fletcher (one) and Fabian Allen (one) following.

    In fact, apart from vice-captain Roston Chase, who made a measured unbeaten 32 off 30 balls, which had two fours and a six, none of the batsmen got into double figures.

    Phehlukwayo (3-28) and Ottneil Baartman (3-26) did the damage for South Africa.

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