The Kolkata Knight Riders produced an all-round show when they recorded a thumping 54-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad to stay in the playoffs for IPL 2022 at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Saturday. When KKR struck first, KKR posted a challenging 177/6 and then stopped SRH on 123/8 for their sixth win in 13 attempts which has seen them climb up to sixth place in the standings.
IPL FULL COVERAGE SCHEME | RESULTS | ORANGE CAPS | PURPLE CAP
SRH never looked into the chase as they lost captain Kane Williamson and Rahul Tripathi cheaply. Opener Abhishek Sharma (43) and Aiden Markram (32) tried to rebuild the inning but KKR continued to beat them with regular strokes.
Russell, who previously played with the bat to push KKR to what turned out to be a winning total, dazzled with the ball until he took 3/22 from his four overs.
Earlier, Umran Malik was back on his trail after some forgetful excursions when he ran through KKR’s highest order before Russell’s 49 not out drives them to 177/6.
Also read: KKR vs SRH Match Highlights
Russell along with Sam Billings (34 off 29 balls) added 63 runs for the sixth wicket and helped them recover from a tricky 94/5 in a stage.
KKR added 58 runs in the last five overs, mostly thanks to Russell when he hit three sixes of three full throws by off-break bowler Washington Sundar (0/40 on 4 overs).
Malik (3/33 on 4 overs), who had gone for 120-odd runs in his last 10 overs (over 3 games) and it was too wicketless, was back in his element when he bowled fast and straight to get rid of Nitish Rana (26 of 16 balls), Ajinkya Rahane (28 of 23 balls) and skipper Shreyas Iyer (15 of 9 balls) in their first two overs to hit back KKR.
He got good support from T Natarajan (1/43), who nailed the blockhole deliveries with perfection, and got rid of Rinku Singh (5), who failed to take the review even if it had been counted too little.
Venkatesh Iyer’s “second season blues” continued when he hacked one from Marco Jansen (1/30 on 4 overs) on the stumps.
As for Rahane, he has well over his IPL sale date and even three sixes could not hide the fact that he played many dot balls and once he started cramping it became even harder to rotate the strike.
He was finally out when he hit hard on a wide rising delivery and Shashank Singh at the sweeper’s protective fence maintained perfect body balance in the side position to hook on to the hook.
The KKR battle finally looked good when Russell and Billings took the attack back to the opposing camp with some big battles after an initial period of struggle.
While the Jamaican had three fours and four sixes to his name, Billings, on the other hand, hit three fours and a max.
Towards the end of the innings, the cunning Bhuvneshwar threw his prey to reduce Russell’s points range as he had impressive balls with 13 points throughout his game.
The win has improved KKR’s hopes for a top four place, but SRH will not only have to win their last two matches but also hope that other results go their way to reach the playoffs now.
With PTI inputs
Get all the latest updates on Cricket News, Cricket Photos, Cricket Videos, IPL 2022 Live Updates and Cricket Scores here