Big-hitting Andre Russell steers Kolkata Knight Riders to IPL win over Punjab Kings

West Indian smashes 70 off 31 balls while Amesh Yadav claims for 4-23

Andre Russell cracked an unbeaten 70 for Kolkata Knight Riders in their IPL win over Punjab Kings on Friday, April 1, 2022. Sportzpics for IPL
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Amesh Yadav's 4-23 and Andre Russell's unbeaten 70 off 31 balls steered Kolkata Knight Riders to a six-wicket over Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League on Friday.

Punjab were limited to 137 before Russell's power hitting – with eight sixes and two fours – turned the game with Kolkata looking in trouble after losing early wickets.

Punjab removed both Kolkata openers – Ajinkya Rahane (12) and Venkatesh Iyer (three) – in defence of their below-par score.

Indian leg-spinner Rahul Chahar bowled a double-wicket maiden in the seventh over of the match to reduce Kolkata to 51-4.

He took the wickets of Shreyas Iyer, 26 off 15 balls, and Nitish Rana, a two-ball duck, to raise Punjab's hopes.

Chahar ended his four overs with two wickets for 13 runs as Punjab's most impressive bowler in the game.

But Russell and Sam Billings, who scored an unbeaten 24 off 23 balls, ended all hopes with their match-turning partnership.

“Simply outstanding hitting – it was Russell muscle, for serious,” winning captain Shreyas Iyer said after the match.

West Indian all-rounder Odean Smith was the most expensive Punjab bowler and took 1-39 runs in his two overs. Smith was hit for four sixes and a boundary in one chase-defining over.

Earlier, player-of-the-match Yadav gave a great start to his team after taking Punjab captain Mayank Agarwal's wicket for one in the game's first over.

Punjab batters found it hard to handle Yadav's pace and accurate lines.

Liam Livingstone, (19), Harpreet Brar (14) and Rahul Chahar, who scored a two-ball duck, were Yadav's other three scalps.

Punjab lost wickets throughout their innings and couldn't stitch a partnership on a batting-friendly pitch.

Yadav was ably assisted by New Zealand veteran Tim Southee, who took 2-36 runs from his four overs.

Kolkata spinners Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine bowled tight lines and only gave 37 runs for a wicket in eight overs between them.

Sri Lankan hitter Bhanuka Rajapaksha and South African pacer Kagiso Rabada top-scored for Punjab with 31 and 25, respectively.

Hard-hitting Smith remained unbeaten on nine off 12 balls as Agarwal's side were bowled out in the 19th over.

“We didn't bat well enough,” Agarwal said. “We showed some real fight with the ball initially but then Russell came in and got going. Credit to him for that."

Updated: April 02, 2022, 4:57 AM