news Sunday, April 19, 2015 - 05:30
   Andre Russell cracked a scintillating 35-ball 66 to power Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) home from a precarious position against Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Saturday. The Jamaican kept on clobbering the hapless KXIP bowlers all round the park plundering nine fours and two sixes enroute, as he led the Knights' recovery after they looked at sea losing half their batsmen inside eight overs, with only 60 on board. Russel was aptly supported by the hard-hitting Yusuf Pathan who made an unbeaten 28 of 24 balls (4x4) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium. After being jolted upfront with openers Robin Uthappa (13) and Manish Pandey (12) departing early, Kolkata's adopted son from Mumbai Suryakumar Yadav (23; 10b, 2x4, 2x6) played a breezy knock clubbing Mitchell Johnson for 15 in his first over, courtesy two sixes that were flicked beautifully into the stands. But his merriment at the crease was short-lived, with an edge carrying to the keeper. Skipper Gambhir 11 (19 balls 0x6, 1x4) soon followed Suryakumar into the dug-out. He tried to heave pacer Sandeep Sharma but only managing to nick it to wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Ryan ten Doeschate, the Dutchman, got out of the very next ball, adjudged leg-before-wicket but television replays showed he had edged the delivery before it thumped into the pads. The Kolkata side was 60 for five. The over was a maiden too. Sharma finished with career-best T20 figures of 4/25. After being 53/2 at the end of six, the defending champions meandered to 68/5 at the end of the 10th over, as the Kings seemed firmly entrenched. West Indies bat Russell got into the act thereafter, swinging the willow with aplomb. Left-arm off-spinner Axar Patel was on the receving end, conceding 19 in an over. Johnson was tonked too, as Russell got stuck to the Australian and then bought up his 50 of just 28 balls. He kept at it till the Knights were on the home stretch. He departed in the 18th over, with Mitchell Johnson rattling his citadel. Chawla scored the winning runs with a boundary, as KKR jumped to the third spot on the league table with two wins from three matches. Earlier in the day, George Bailey muscled his way to 60 off 45 balls (5x4, 2x6) but lacked support from the other end. Their second highest scorer was Glenn Maxwell (33; 26 b, 2x4, 2x6). KKR bowlers chipped in wickets at regular intervals, pegging the opponents just when they were trying to shift gears. Set for a bigger score, the Kings lost their way in the death, losing four wickets and managing 24 runs in the last 16 balls. Umesh Yadav was the pick of the bowlers as he returned figures of 3/33. The Australian duo of Maxwell and Bailey steadied the ship after losing early wickets as the Kings reached 77/3 at the half way mark. Maxwell, however, was given a let-off on 13 by Yusuf Pathan, who dropped a sitter in the deep. They put on a 63-run partnership, but Maxwell fell trying to hit Umesh Yadav over cover and was held out in the deep, courtesy a good running catch by Russell. The penultimate over from KKR's West Indian spin king Sunil Narine was again top-class as he gave away just six runs and picked up the wicket of all-rounder Axar Patel returning with figures of 1/17 from his four overs, it was the West Indies offie's first wicket in the tournament this year. Bailey clinched the orange cap in the last over as he clubbed the second ball for a six with Ryan ten Doeschate tipping it over the boundary line.
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