Russell thrills with half-century but KKR stunned

KKR’s West Indies star Andre Russell.

CHENNAI, India, CMC – West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell announced his return to the Indian Premier League in style, belting an explosive unbeaten half-century but it was not enough to prevent Chennai Super Kings from pulling off a five-wicket victory here yesterday.

Jamaican Russell, who missed last year IPL through a doping whereabouts suspension, finished unbeaten on 88 from 36 deliveries in his second outing as Kolkata Knight Riders piled up an impressive 202 for six from their 20 overs.

However, CSK then produced an absorbing run chase to overhaul the target with a ball to spare.

Englishman Sam Billings struck 56 and Australian Shane Watson, 42, but the hosts still required 17 from the final over.

West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who ended 11 not out, struck seamer Vinay Kumar for a six over fine leg off the first ball and Ravi Jadeja (11 not out) cleared the ropes at long on with the fifth delivery to earn CSK an exciting win.

The first part of the game belonged to Russell who smashed a four and 11 sixes – equalling the record for the most sixes in an individual T20 innings of less than a hundred.

Robin Uthappa made 29, captain Dinesh Karthik, 26, while Australian Chris Lynn scored 22.

With KKR slumping at 89 for five in the 10th over, Russell arrived to inspire the best partnership of the innings as he posted 76 from 46 deliveries for the sixth wicket – en route to the highest score by a number seven batsman or lower in the IPL.

When Karthik perished in the 18th over, Russell put on a further 37 from 14 balls for the seventh wicket with Englishman Tom Curran (2 not out).

The right-handed Russell had a slow start, gathering just 10 runs from his first 11 deliveries before exploding to reaching his 13th T20 half-century of another 15 balls, reaching the landmark with a six over extra cover off seamer Watson in the 18th over.

He thumped a pair of sixes in one over from Bravo which leaked 19 runs and in the penultimate over, again took his wrath out on his Windies teammate with three consecutive sixes as the over went for 21.

Bravo’s three overs gushed 50 runs marking only the fourth time in his 377-match career he has conceded 50 runs or more in a T20.

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