Chennai: Andre Russel’s rampaging assault in the last three overs gave Kolkata Knight Riders a memorable victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their first match of the Indian Premier League 2019 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, Sunday.
With 53 runs needed off the last three overs, it was Russel’s show all through as he hit sixes and fours all around the ground. With 19 runs scored in the 18th over bowled by Siddharth Kaul, Sunrisers skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has earned the reputation as a good death bowler, could not do much as Russel smashed him for two sixes and fours, helping KKR close to victory.
With 13 needed from the last over, it was Shubman Gill who smashed two sixes off Shakib Al Hasan to script an emphatic victory.
Speaking after the match Sunrisers leg-spinner Rashid Khan conceded that despite the team’s good bowling effort, Russel took the game away from them. “We did well in all departments but we just could not finish it off well in the last three overs and that happens in T20s. Russell played a great knock and took the game away from us he played all the shots. It’s not that the bowlers bowled bad deliveries, They bowled good deliveries and he smashed them. It is good that this happens in the early stage of the tournament. Hopefully, we try to not repeat what we did and
come back strong and play in front of a home crowd,” he said.
When all the bowlers were taken to cleaners, Rashid had a good outing with the ball consistently troubling the batsman with his variations. Early during KKR’s innings, he was denied of the wicket of Robin Uthappa when Yusuf Pathan dropped easiest of catches. “The dropped catch of Uthappa was very crucial but it’s all part and parcel of the game. I just tried to bowl some best deliveries to him and the dropped chance also did not create much of a difference,” he said.
When he was asked whether the dropped catch had an impact in the way he bowled, he said “I was focussed on each and every delivery till my last ball nd tried my best to do well. If I had thought about the drop catch, I wouldn’t have been able to perform well for the rest of the deliveries so I just tried to take it away from my mind and wanted to create another chance.”
He conceded 26 runs in his four overs picking up the wicket of Nitish Rana, who scored a valuable 67.