Russell’s Blitz Powers Kolkata To Six-Wicket Win Against Punjab

| Updated: 01 April, 2022 11:22 pm IST

MUMBAI: Kolkata Knight Riders (141-4) decimated Punjab Kings (137) by six wickets in match 8 of the Indian Premier League to reach the top of the Points Table. Here are the major highlights from the match –

‘Madman’ Rajapaksa: Bhanuka Rajapaksa, the wicketkeeper, came at the crease after the fall of first wicket and took attack to the bowlers from the word go. He lifted Tim Southee over covers for a boundary to kick off his innings and then walloped Shivam Mavi for three sixes – two over the long-on and one over midwicket – in an over. However, his blistering innings was short-lived as he scooped a simple catch to Southee at mid-off after smashing 31 runs off just 9 balls.

Umesh Yadav’s sensational spell: Defying all pre-tournament blather, Umesh Yadav is bowling tremendously well throughout the tournament. After racking up four wickets in the first two matches, Umesh once again stepped up and grabbed four wickets in the match. He trapped Punjab captain Mayank Agarwal before the wickets in the first over and later winkled out Liam Livingstone, Harpreet Brar and Rahul Chahar.

Southee also bowled craftily and picked up two scalps. Together, they reduced Punjab to 102-8 in 15 overs.

Rabada’s late assault: With his team teeling at 102-8, Kagiso Rabada decided to go hammer and tongs at bowlers. He clouted two boundaries over covers and a one straight six off Southee, and added 35 runs for the 9th wicket with Odean Smith. Southee took an outstanding catch at long-off to send him back to the pavilion.

Chahar spins a web: Punjab needed quick wickets to defend a subpar total of 137. Rabada nipped out Ajinkya Rahane early as he tried to drive the ball but the leading edge went straight to Smith at short third-man. Venkatesh Iyer too departed soon after as Harpreet Brar took a sharp catch at cover.

But the captain Shreyas Iyer was going great guns as he raced to 26, with the help of five boundaries, in just 14 balls. At that stage, leg-spinner Rahul Chahar snaffled two crucial scalps in his first over. Iyer tried to slog sweep Chahar but the ball dipped and the shot went straight up in the air. Rabadab took an easy catch to end Iyer’s stay at the crease. In the same over, Nitish Rana was caught plumb in front of the stumps as Chahar whipped out a faster one with a scrambled seam. At that stage, Kolkata were tottering at 51-4.

Russell’s blitz: Always undeterred by the situation, Russell didn’t take too long to get going. He smote two sixes off Harpreet Brar in the 10th over to open the floodgates. In the 12th over, he smoked three sixes off Smith and plundered 30 runs. This is the most expensive over by a bowler till now in the IPl 2022. Russell followed his standard template and chose the cow corner to bludgeon sixes almost at will. He flayed Livingstone for a six over deep mid-wicket to finish the match in 14.3 overs and remained unbeaten at 70* off just 31 balls.

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