Russell Still Pulls KKR-Table Topping Win > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Russell encore fires KKR to table-topping win

In a throwback to KKR's last match, Russell scored a destructive 17-ball 48

Kings XI Punjab made four changes to their eleven from the previous game, but it did little to cover up their shortcomings overall. In the face of some incredible hitting from Nitish Rana (63 off 34) first and later Andre Russell (48 off 17) as Kolkata Knight Riders rattled up a massive 218/4 after being put in to bat. KXIP were left ruing the opportunities they missed, particularly a big one against Russell.

A costly nap

A small, but crucial, bit of play was noticed by the umpires when Russell was just on 3. He had been bowled by a Mohammed Shami yorker but KXIP had only three fielders inside the ring, one short according to the rules. It was deemed a no-ball and left R Ashwin, the KXIP captain, howling in anger. They had been caught napping, and now they had to pay the price.

A Russell encore

Soon after that reprieve, Russell went on an 8-ball spree that went 6,4, 4, 6, 6, 6, 6, 4 against Andrew Tye and Shami. The pacers were guilty of moving away from the yorker plan, and missing their mark when they went back to it. And for the second game in a row, Russell emphasized why he's the most dangerous hitter in the death overs.

Rana trumps Ashwin

Ashwin's captaincy moves were off the mark throughout. He had started with the spin of debutant Varun Chakravarthy to open the innings, who was promptly carted for 25 runs in the over by a rampaging Sunil Narine. And despite getting Narine and his partner, Chris Lynn through pace, KXIP got no respite. The middle-overs battle between Nitish Rana and R Ashwin had only one winner with the left-hander smacking four sixes off Ashwin to get his innings going and hitting two more before rattling onto a 28-ball fifty. Between the blitzes of Rana and Russell, KKR also had Robin Uthappa holding the innings together with a 50-ball 67 to set KKR up for a massive total.

A chase that never took off

KXIP's biggest bets in the chase, their openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul were back in the dugout inside the powerplay effectively killing the chase. While Rahul's release shot against Lockie Ferguson after a series of dot balls found mid off, Gayle was done in by Russell's short of length delivery giving a catch to mid on. While Mayank Agarwal and later David Miller both cracked fifites, KXIP were at no point threatening to get close to the required run-rate thereafter. That they finished only 28 runs short was a flattering result in the end.

Where they go next

KXIP have their first home game of the season coming up in two days against Mumbai Indians. And after two home games on the trot, KKR will now travel away for four games, the first of which will be against Delhi Capitals on March 30.

Brief Scores: KKR 218/4 (Robin Uthappa 67*, Nitish Rana 63, Andre Russell 48) beat KXIP 190/4 (Mayank Agarwal 58, David Miller 59*; Andre Russell 2-21) by 28 runs

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