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'Outstanding hitting; it was Russell muscle, for serious'

April 02, 2022 06:47 IST
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Andre Russell and Umesh Yadav pose with the Orange and Purple caps after steering Kolkata Knight Riders to an easy victory over Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League match,  at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, on Friday.

IMAGE: Andre Russell and Umesh Yadav pose with the Orange and Purple caps after steering Kolkata Knight Riders to an easy victory over Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League match, at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, on Friday. Photograph: BCCI

Andre Russell's unbeaten 70 off 31 balls steered Kolkata Knight Riders to a six-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in the IPL match at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Friday.

The Knight Riders, replying to Punjab Kings’ 137 were tottering at 51 for 4, but then made a mockery of the chase, cruising home with 141 for 4 off just 14.3 overs.

 

"It was such a relief to see him hit so clearly. Simply outstanding hitting. It was Russell muscle, for serious," declared Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer at the post-match press conference.

"I was just having a chat with him. He said he's getting older but I told him he's getting fitter and stronger. He's been putting in the hard yards at practice. I see him in the gym every time I go. He's hungry and wants the team to win. He's been a great colleague to work with," added Iyer.

Punjab Kings were dismissed for a modest 137 in 18.2 overs, Umesh Yadav bagging four wickets for 23 runs. That effort won the pacer the 'Player of the Match' award.

Punjab started aggressively despite losing captain Mayank Agarwal in the first over to Yadav, but Bhanuka Rajapaksa's 31-run knock off 9 balls helped the 2015 finalists reach the 50-run mark in just 4.4 overs.

"We were stunned - we didn't expect them to come so hard, especially after losing a wicket in the first over. But when I saw them timing it so well, I thought I could as well," said Iyer.

Two-time champions KKR got wickets at regular intervals, not allowing any partnership to flourish.

"We got early wickets after the Powerplay so my mindset was if I get wickets as much as possible... my plan was to get the best bowlers when they had hard-hitters coming in," added Iyer.

Sunil Narine and Varun Chakaravarthy bowled eight overs between themselves and conceded 37 runs, Chakaravarthy only 14 in his four overs.

"They make my job very easy on the field. They come up with their own strategies and in team meetings they already know their plans. They know what they're doing," said Iyer.

Following the six-wicket win, Kolkata Knight Riders have won two consecutive matches. They lock horns with Mumbai Indians next, on April 6.

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