Kolkata Knight Riders snapped their six-match losing streak with a 34-run win over Mumbai Indians in a high-scoring IPL game that saw brutal stroke play from power-hitters of both teams, in Kolkata, on Sunday.
Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen fired on all cylinders to post the season's highest total, 232 for two, after sensational knocks from Shubman Gill (75 off 45) and Andre Russell (80 not out off 40).
At 58 for four, Mumbai were down and out but Hardik Pandya reignited their hopes with a breathtaking 91 off 34 balls. In the end, Pandya's dismissal in the 18th over sealed the game in KKR's favour as Mumbai ended on 198 for seven. The Indian all-rounder's cracking innings comprised nine sixes and six fours.
The much-needed win keeps KKR alive in the tournament with 10 points from 12 matches, while Mumbai stay third with 14 points from 12 games.
Staring at elimination, the embattled KKR got off to a fiery start with Shubman Gill (76) and Chris Lynn (54) putting on a 96-run opening stand, their highest this season, after Rohit Sharma opted to bowl in his 100th match as captain.
Russell, KKR's biggest impact player of the season, was finally seen higher up the order at No 3. The West Indies power-hitter ensured that KKR finished on a high with an unbeaten effort.
Russell hammered six fours and eight sixes including one off the last ball after he denied a couple of singles to skipper Dinesh Karthik in the last over as KKR creamed 75 runs from the last five overs and scored 135 in the final 10.
Fielding let down Mumbai Indians big time with both Lynn and Russell dropped early in their innings by Kieron Pollard and Evin Lewis respectively.
The top-order batting was all about the sheer class of the 19-year-old Gill, who showed why he is billed as the future star of Indian cricket.
Gill smashed six fours and four sixes en route to his second half-century of the season and forged a crucial stand with Russell. The duo shared 62 runs from 35 balls of which Gill had a share of 34, while Russell scored 24.
Gill was at his best against Rahul Chahar as three of his four sixes came against the leg-spinner.
Such was the sheer class of Gill that Russell was glad to play second fiddle and was on six off 12 balls after being dropped on one.
On a belter of a track, KKR openers got off to a sensational start and survived the powerplay without losing a wicket for their highest opening stand -- 96 -- this season.
Slow to start with, Lynn was 18 off 15 balls when Kieron Pollard spilled a chance from the Aussie at mid-off.
Lynn took off from there on, hammering the spin duo of Krunal Pandya and Chahar to race to his fourth IPL fifty this season off just 27 balls.
Mumbai got off to a horror with the bat, losing opener Quinton de Kock for a duck, caught by Russell off Sunil Narine in the second over. Captain Rohit (12) also struggled before he was trapped leg before wicket by Harry Gurney as wickets kept falling at regular intervals for the visitors before Hardik's sensational hitting nearly brought them back from the dead.
Russell also played a key role with the ball, with wonderful figures of two for 25 in his four overs on a good batting wicket, while Gurney took two for 37.