Pune: Andre Russell's spectacular all-round performance helped defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Kings XI Punjab by 4 wickets, in an IPL cricket match here today.
The Jamaican all-rounder hit a blistering 66 from 36 balls after his KKR were reeling at 60 for five as KKR cantered to victory target of 156 in 17.5 overs from a near losing position.
KKR allrounder Andre Russell. Photo: AFP
It was a day to remember for Russell as he first took 2/39 while bowling apart from couple of smart catches during KXIP innings.
With the willow, he belted nine boundaries and two sixes adding 95 runs in 9.2 overs for the sixth wicket with Yusuf Pathan (28 no) to take his team home which looked unlikely after the first eight overs when half of the team was back in the dug-out.
Russell scored his 50 off 28 balls with eight boundaries and a six as he got a standing ovation from his teammates.
When he was finally out, KKR had tied the scores. Defending a not so big total, KXIP bowlers needed to do well upfront and young Sandeep Sharma responded brilliantly with figures of 4/25 as polished off the top-order with some incisive swing bowling as they were reduced to 60 for five in
He got the ball to shape in consistently getting Robin Uthappa (13), Manish Pandey (12) and Ryan ten Doeschate (0) with incoming deliveries. Ten Doeschate was a bit unlucky as replay showed that he got an inside edge.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir, who has been pretty consistent so far got one which Sandeep slanted across and Wriddhiman Saha took an easy catch.
Saha however took a brilliant diving catch to cut short Suryakumar Yadav (23 off 10 balls)'s little cameo when he tried to steer a Thisara Perera delivery towards vacant third-man boundary.
Once they were down in the dumps at 60 for five, Russell came in and started to counter-attack at the bowlers which paid dividends. Surprisingly, it was Pathan at the other end, who was playing the second fiddle in their partnership as they took their team home with minimum fuss.
Put in to bat, Kings XI scored 155/9, with skipper George Bailey (60; 45b, 5x4, 2x6) being the top scorer.