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Cricket news - Russell special powers KKR to winning start
Dr Dre slays SRH counter
Sunrisers Hyderabad's much-famed bowling attack had their reputations tattered at the hands of Andre Russell, who in a period of two overs, smacked four sixes and three fours and took Kolkata Knight Riders to a 6-wicket win in their opening encounter of IPL 2019.
KKR needed 53 runs in the last three overs with Russell batting on 9 off 7 balls, already troubled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar's variations - yorker, slower one and a mix of both wide outside the off stump. The 17th over yielded only 6 runs but when he came on to bowl his next over, Russell thrashed him for 21 and brought down the equation to 13 off the last over. Shubhman Gill hit two long sixes in the last over off Shakib Al Hasan to help KKR overhaul the total with 1 ball to spare.
While his assault may have lasted only for two overs, Russell powered away to a 19-ball 49.
David Warner... like he never left
IPL was expected to be David Warner's toughest cricketing challenge since the international exile last March. But for all the rustiness he came to the competition with, he showed no signs of it in the opening game, stroking his way to his 37th IPL fifty - more than any other player in the tournament. In what was a quintessential Warner knock, cuts, pulls and muscle were all on display in a free-flowing knock of dominance. He set the base of Sunrisers' innings with 53-ball 85, a knock which included 9 boundaries and 3 sixes, before driving a full delivery by Andre Russell to Robin Uthappa at extra cover.
The confidence he gained from the knock was reflective when Sunrisers came out to defend their total, and Warner - the former captain - was busy setting the field at different points in the game.
DK's forgettable day out
It wasn't the best of the days for the Kolkata Knight Riders skipper. It all started with a horrendous review in the 19th ball of the innings when a Piyush Chawla googly hit Warner on the pads. What was clear on television, the on-field umpire and the technology - that the ball had pitched way outside legstump - wasn't in sync with what the bowler and Karthik believed. But that wasn't to be the KKR skipper's only error of the day. He dropped Warner twice behind the stumps - in 7th over when he was batting on 38 and in the 12th over on 68. Add a misfield, a confusion while running and returns of 2 off 4 with the bat to the mix, and it made for a perfect case why his chances as India's second 'keeper just took a dip!
Bairstow's IPL debut
The English 'keeper, chosen ahead of two local glovemen - Wriddhiman Saha and Sreevats Goswami - walked in to the side on reputation but his record in India against spin isn't the most impressive. However, at Eden Gardens - the fastest and the bounciest track in India in recent years - Bairstow was presented the best opportunity to put an exhibition of his destructive powers. However, he struggled for most parts of his stay, at times beaten and mostly scratchy. Nonetheless, through the course of his 35-ball 39, he stitched a record opening stand for SRH against KKR, adding 118 with Warner.
Late acceleration continues to trouble SRH
There have been a few constants for Sunrisers Hyderabad in recent years - top order reliability and strong bowling performances. What hasn't been their ally though is lower order hitting. Today, despite a beefed-up middle order, was no different and barring Russell's assault, was the biggest reason of SRH's close defeat. When Warner fell in the 16th over, Sunrisers Hyderabad were well-placed at 144. With eight wickets in hand and a flurry of big hitters to follow, the visitors could have targeted a 190-plus total. However, while Vijay Shankar crunched a couple of sixes and boundaries in his 24-ball 40, Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey struggled against a flurry of slower balls by Andre Russell, Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson. The duo combined to add in only a run-a-ball nine as SRH finished on 181 for 3.
KKR's latest surprise
After a successful experiment with Sunil Narine at the top for two seasons, KKR decided to make another surprise change at the top - promoting Nitish Rana to open the innings with Chris Lynn. While Lynn struggled early against spin, Robin Uthappa got out again in the 30s and Karthik failed to leave an impact, Rana made the most of his opportunity and cashed in 68 off 47 balls. He paced his innings well, countering both pace and spin with ease. Even as KKR struggled to keep pace with the required rate till the 17th over, managing only 70 in the first 10, Rana remained a strong constant and the second biggest reason for KKR's winning start.
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