KOLKATA, India, CMC – Irrepressible West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell played a small cameo with the bat, grabbed four wickets and bowled a remarkable final over as Kolkata Knight Riders shot to the top of the Indian Premier League with a tense seven-run victory over Kings XI Punjab here yesterday.
The Jamaican lashed 16 from 10 balls at the death as KKR rallied to 164 for three off their 20 overs, after they were sent in at Eden Gardens.
KKR were propelled though by openers Robin Uthappa, who stroked 70, and Gautam Gambhir, who gathered 54.
In reply, Kings XI’s run chase was crippled by pacer Russell’s opening burst which reduced them to 13 for three in the fourth over, and despite Australian Glenn Maxwell’s superb top score of 68, the visitors could only reach 157 for nine.
Kings XI required 12 runs from the final over but Russell, voted Man-of-the-Match, proved outstanding in conceding just four runs, effecting a run out and grabbing another wicket to finish with four for 20 from his four overs.
With the victory, KKR joined new boys Gujarat Lions on 12 points but topped the standings courtesy of a superior net run rate.
Uthappa lashed six fours and two sixes off 49 balls in posting 101 off 81 deliveries for the first wicket with Gambhir, before adding 36 for the second wicket with Yusuf Pathan, who finished on 19 not out.
Russell arrived in the 17th over to help give KKR a flourish at the end, belting a four and a six in putting on 27 for the third wicket, before falling to the final delivery of the innings,
The 28-year-old then gave KKR a fine start, claiming Marcus Stoinis without scoring off the fourth ball of the innings, with a single run on the board.
In his next over, Russell had Manan Vohra caught at deep backward square without scoring as Kings XI tumbled at the top.
Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha (24) put on 40 for the fourth wicket and added a further 67 for the fifth wicket with David Miller (13).
However, Maxwell fell in the 16th over with 45 runs needed from 27 balls and Russell returned in the 18th over to remove the dangerous Miller and swing the advantage KKR’s way.
In the final over, Russell ran out Axar Patel for 21 after Gurkeerat Singh drove the second delivery back to him, and he turned and found the at the non-striker backing up too far.
Gurkeerat Singh was then run out of the next delivery attempting a second run to the deep and Russell picked up his fourth wicket when he trapped Swapnil Singh lbw with a full length delivery, to the first ball he faced.