Andre Russell’s all-round brilliance theoretically stood Calcutta Knight Riders in contention for a place in the play-offs, as they recorded a comprehensive 54-run victory over Sunrises Hyderabad in a must win IPL saturday party.
It was Russell’s unbeaten 49 from 28 balls that took KKR to 177 for six in 20 overs after being down and out at 94 for 5.
In response, SRH were never in the hunt as they huffed and puffed their way to 123 of 8 against a collective bowling effort from Shreyas Iyer’s men with the flamboyant Jamaican finishing with best figures of 3 of 22.
Umesh Yadav (1/19 in 4 overs), Tim Southee (2/23 in 4 overs), Varun Chakravarthy (1/25 in 4 overs) and Sunil Narine (1/34 in 4 overs) all stick to their respective plans. game with almost perfect executions over and over again.
KKR now has 12 points from 13 games with a +0.160 net run rate and moved into sixth place.
With Rajasthan Royals (14 of 12) and RCB (14 of 13 games) having a chance of promotion, it is unlikely that even one win will be enough for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise, who played their 13th ‘first XI’ combination. in so many games.
For the Sunrisers, 10 points from 12 games with a lousy -0.270 NRR means even two big wins and 14 points might not be enough after five straight losses.
While a sentimental favorite among Indian cricket lovers, much of SRH’s poor batting performance could be attributed to skipper Kane Williamson’s nightmarish season, who produced just 208 runs in 12 games while averaging less than 19 and a strike rate of 92.85.
Williamson (9 of 17 balls) has been SRH’s weakest link this season and his failure at the top of the order has been a major reason for his downfall.
It was an ordeal for Williamson until Russell threw one into the stumps to put him out of his misery. Rahul Tripathi (9 of 1 balls) also looked scratchy even when Abhishek Sharma (43 of 28 balls) attacked Sunil Narine, hitting him with two sixes.
It was Tim Southee’s brilliant reflected return that ended Tripathi’s innings.
At the halfway point, SRH were not in a very comfortable position at 66 for two and even the stats for the chasing teams (highest 170 successful chase) at the Gahunje Stadium did not paint an entirely rosy picture.
Once Abhishek was dismissed by Varun Chakaravarthy (1/25) and Narine took a good catch back to see off SRH’s big hope Nicholas Pooran (2), there wasn’t much resistance from the rest of the batsmen.
Earlier, Umran Malik got back into his groove after some forgettable outings as he raced through the KKR top order, but Russell along with Sam Billings (34 from 29 balls) added 63 runs for the sixth wicket to give the total a semblance of respectability. after KKR. they were in trouble at 94 for 5.
KKR added 58 runs in the last five overs, mainly due to Russell hitting three sixes on three complete pitches thrown by break pitcher Washington Sundar (0/40 in 4 overs).
Malik (3/33 in 4 overs), who had made 120 runs in his last 10 overs (in 3 games) and also had no wicket, was back in his element as he bowled fast and straight to shake off Nitish Rana. (26 of 16 balls), Ajinkya Rahane (28 of 23 balls) and captain Shreyas Iyer (15 of 9 balls) in their first two overs to get KKR back.
He got good support from T Natarajan (1/43), who nailed the blocking deliveries perfectly, taking out Rinku Singh (5).
Venkatesh Iyer’s “season two blues” continued as he cut one from Marco Jansen (1/30 in 4 overs) on the stumps.
As far as Rahane is concerned, she has far exceeded her IPL the expiration date and even three sixes couldn’t hide the fact that he played a lot of point balls and once he started cramping, it became even harder to rotate the strike.
Finally, he was out when he sliced hard into a wide, rising pitch and Shashank Singh at the sweeper fence kept perfect body balance in a lateral position to hook into the catch.
Russell and Billings then took the attack back into the opposition camp with some heavy hitting after the initial period of fighting.
While the Jamaican had three fours and four sixes to his name, Billings hit three fours and a max.
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