Kolkata Knight Rider notched up their second victory in three games this Indian Premier League season with a six-wicket win against Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
Umesh Yadav with 4/23 and Andre Russell with an unbeaten 70 off 31 were the star performers as KKR bowled out PBKS for 137 before chasing down the target with 33 balls to spare.
Set a comfortable target after a fine bowling performance, Kolkata found themselves in a serious spot of bother at 51/4 after seven overs. Openers Ajinkya Rahane and Venkatesh Iyer fell early before leg-spinner Rahul Chahar removed skipper Shreyas Iyer and Nitish Rana in a sensational double-wicket maiden right after the powerplay.
However, just when it seemed the match would go down to the wire, KKR took over. Sam Billings and Russell, in at No 4 and 6 respectively, put on an unbeaten partnership of 90 runs from 49 balls to help the two-time IPL champions bag the two points.
While Billings was smart and rotated the strike well in his 24* off 23, Russell showed his full range as a batter with a world-class knock.
The West Indies all-rounder took his time to get his eye in and played out Chahar. But once he was set, he cut loose and ended up hitting eight sixes and two fours. His two sixes and a four against compatriot Odean Smith in the 12th over all but sealed the deal.
Earlier, asked to bat first, Punjab Kings lost their skipper Mayank Agarwal in the first over as Umesh hit his stride immediately.
Sri Lanka’s Bhanuka Rajapaksa then provided the top score for PBKS with a blazing 31 off just nine deliveries. The left-hander was impressive in the first game too and hit three sixes and as many fours in his cameo.
But Punjab kept losing wickets at regular intervals from there on as Umesh, who has been in splendid form so far this season, led Kolkata’s charge with the ball. Kagiso Rabada, in at No 10, was the second-highest scorer for PBKS with 25 off 16.
While Shahrukh Khan was dismissed for a duck, the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Liam Livingstone and Raj Angad Bawa couldn’t convert their starts. Eventually, with the dangerous Odean Smith still unbeaten, Punjab were bowled out with 10 balls to spare.