Kolkata Knight Riders snapped their six-match losing streak with a 34-run win over Mumbai Indians in a high-scoring Indian Premier League at the Eden Gardens.
Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen fired on all cylinders to post the season’s highest total, 232/2, after sensational knocks from Shubman Gill (75 off 45) and Andre Russell (80 not out off 40).
At 58/4, Mumbai were down and out but Hardik Pandya reignited their hopes with a breathtaking 91 off 34 balls. The right-hander scored the fastest half-century of this season, getting to his fifty in merely 17 deliveries.
In the end, Pandya’s dismissal in the 18th over sealed the game for Kolkata as Mumbai ended at 198/7. The Indian all-rounder’s cracking innings comprised nine sixes and six fours.
The much needed win keeps KKR alive in the tournament as they now have 10 points from 12 matches. Mumbai remain in third spot with 14 points from 12 games.
Staring at elimination, the embattled KKR got off to a fiery start with Shubman Gill (76) and Chris Lynn (54) putting on a 96-run opening stand, their highest this season, after Rohit Sharma opted to bowl in his 100th match as captain.
Promoted DreRuss doesn’t disappoint
Russell, KKR’s biggest impact player of the season, was finally seen higher up the order at No 3. The West Indies power-hitter ensured that KKR finished on a high with an unbeaten effort.
Russell hammered six fours and eight sixes including one off the last ball after he denied a couple of singles to skipper Dinesh Karthik in the last over as KKR creamed 75 runs from the last five overs and scored 135 in the final 10.
“I generate a lot of power from my shoulders and a steady base,” Russell said after the match. “The most important thing tonight was the two points we got. This keeps us alive. This is definitely one of the best phases with the bat in my career.”
Fielding let down Mumbai Indians big time with both Lynn and Russell dropped early in their innings by Kieron Pollard and Evin Lewis respectively.
The top-order batting was all about the sheer class of the 19-year-old Gill, who showed why he is billed as the future star of Indian cricket.
Gill smashed six fours and four sixes en route to his second half-century of the season and forged a crucial stand with Russell. The duo shared 62 runs from 35 balls of which Gill had a share of 34, while Russell scored 24.
Gill was at his best against Rahul Chahar and three of his four sixes came against the leg-spinner. Such was the sheer class of Gill that Russell was glad to play second fiddle and was six off 12 balls after being dropped on one.
On a belter of a track, KKR openers got off to a sensational start and survived the powerplay without losing a wicket for their highest opening stand – 96 – this season.
Slow to start with, Lynn was 18 off 15 balls when Kieron Pollard spilled a chance from the Aussie at mid-off. The Australian took off from there on, hammering the spin duo of Krunal Pandya and Chahar to race to his fourth IPL fifty this season off just 27 balls.
[Inputs from PTI]