Kolkata Knight Riders surged into the early IPL table-toppers spot thanks to another Andre Russell special, beating Kings XI Punjab by 28 runs.
Jamaican all-rounder Russell’s 48 off 17 backed up impressive efforts from Nitish Rana (63 off 34) and Robin Uthappa (67 off 50) to take the Knight Riders to 218-4.
In response, Punjab never quite got going, with KL Rahul falling early and Chris Gayle managing only 20 off 13 before being dismissed by – who else – Russell (2-21). Mayank Agarwal’s fighting innings of 58 off 34 kept his side in with a shot of pulling off a miracle, along with David Miller, who managed 59 off 40, but nobody could match the destructive innings played by their KKR counterparts and they managed only 190-4 in reply.
UNSTOPPABLE RUSSELL THE STAR AGAIN
48 off 17 and two wickets – including the key one of Gayle; Russell is having the time of his life at the moment. He came into this game on the back of his 49 off 19 against Sunrisers Hyderabad that helped Kolkata win a game in which they needed 53 off the last three overs. Here, his innings turned a 200 total into nearly 220, and given that Punjab nearly got to 200 themselves, that innings was the difference – as if it wasn’t obvious.
Russell got a reprieve, bowled off a no-ball because Kings XI had only three fielders inside the circle, and he’d only made four runs at that point. He took full toll: eight of the next ten deliveries went for boundaries, with Mohammad Shami and Andrew Tye the unfortunate bowlers as KKR topped that three-over total from the previous game – this time, they managed 55 off the last three.
At the moment, the West Indian all-rounder is unstoppable. If he carries on in the same form, KKR will continue to be, too.
ASHWIN THE CENTRE OF ATTENTION AGAIN
It wasn’t the best day at the office for Ravi Ashwin. No controversial moments like his dismissal of Jos Buttler in the previous game, but the Kings XI skipper conceded 47 off his four overs without taking a wicket, and his captaincy cost his team in more ways than one.
The India off-spinner’s strategy in the early stages of KKR’s innings were questionable, with the decision to bowl mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy in the powerplay against Sunil Narine, notoriously destructive against spin, costing 34 runs in two overs, and continuing to bowl himself and finish off his four overs by the 13th over of the innings wasn’t a smart idea, either – especially after he’d already gone for 20 runs in his first two.
But of course, nothing will sting more than that no ball. It’s one thing when a bowler over-steps – it’s an unacceptable mistake, but it does happen. A no ball because you don’t have the requisite fielders inside the circle is unforgivable.
Some will point to Shami’s poor bowling in the aftermath of that non-wicket, but he had Russell out for four runs off five, only for his captain to have cost him.
First the Butler run out and now the 3 fielders in the ring giving Russell a life. If there is a prize for the most happening captain it is Ashwin by a mile.— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) March 27, 2019
Kolkata Knight Riders: 218-4
Andre Russell: 48 (17)
Nitish Rana: 63 (34)
Kings XI Punjab: 190-4
Mayank Agarwal: 58 (34)
Andre Russell: 2-21
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