Top Performers: This duo plotted KKR’s great heist!
Varun Chakravarthy’s superb bowling at the death and Andre Russell’s fine all-round showing saw Kolkata Knight Riders stage a spectacular comeback to defeat a shell-shocked Sunrisers Hyderabad.
After losing three wickets in the Powerplay batting first, KKR got back on track courtesy captain Nitish Rana (42) and Rinku Singh (46) as the duo shared a 64-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Russell’s cameo of 24 from 15 balls ensured that KKR didn’t lose the momentum after the wicket of Rana. He slammed Aiden Markram for a six over long-on, off the third ball he faced, while hitting leggie Mayank Markande for another six in the next over.
Russell took his tally to 600 sixes overall in T20 cricket — the third highest behind fellow West Indians Chris Gayle (1056 sixes) and Kieron Pollard (812 sixes).
It is credit to KKR’s positive approach in the middle overs that they boast of the most runs and the highest run rate between the 7th to 15th over in IPL 2023 — with 801 runs in 10 games at a run rate of 8.9.
Rinku battled hard but KKR stumbled at the end, as they managed just 42 runs in the last five overs, while losing five wickets.
Just like KKR, SRH also lost a few wickets in the Powerplay.
Russell came up with a stunning catch at deep square leg, rushing in from the boundary before he dived at the end to take the ball inches from the ground, to send back Abhishek Sharma (9) off the bowling of Shardul Thakur.
The West Indian then rocked SRH with the wicket of the dangerous Rahul Tripathi, who had smashed him for 4, 6, 4 off his first three balls, getting him caught at fine leg for 20. If not for Tripathi’s wicket at that stage, KKR would have struggled to contain the flow of runs.
Russell had made small but important contributions with the bat and ball and also on the field.
Heinrich Klaasen (36) and Aiden Markram (41) dragged SRH back into the contest with a good partnership in the middle overs but their dismissals saw them stumble.
KKR’s ploy to keep Varun Chakravarthy’s overs for the end paid off big time. The SRH batters could hardly get bat on ball against the KKR leg-spinner, which led Markram to risk it against pacer Vaibhav Arora only to throw his wicket away at a crucial stage, in the 17th over.
Bowling the 16th, 18th and 20th over, Chakravarthy conceded just eight runs in 18 balls, which included eight dot balls, to finish with 1/20 from his four overs, and was awarded the man of the match for his match-winning spell at the end.
The spirit shown by the KKR team was praiseworthy, especially when the match seemed out of their grasp, with SRH needing just 38 from five overs with five wickets in hand.
- IPL 2023
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