Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), riding on Nitish Rana and Andre Russell’s heroics, snapped a two-game losing streak in style to register a 71-run victory over Gautam Gambhir’s Delhi Daredevils in a lopsided Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Eden Gardens on Monday.
Put in by their celebrated former captain Gambhir, KKR saw in-form Rana smash a 35-ball 59 with Russell hitting a 12-ball 44, which included six sixes off Mohammed Shami, to ensure Glenn Maxwell’s 22-ball 47 and Rishabh Pant’s 26-ball 43 went in vain. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine (3/18) and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (3/32) were the pick of the bowlers for the hosts.
Delhi were reduced to 24/3 inside the first three overs with opener Jason Roy, who hit an unbeaten 53-ball 91 in the last match but now only managed 1, Shreyas Iyer (4) and skipper Gambhir (8) back in the hut. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (1/16) got Roy’s back in the last ball of the innings’ first over with a slider down the leg side which the England batsman missed and went down the wicket for skipper Dinesh Karthik to effect a stumping.
In the next over, Rana caught Iyer at first slip off Russell’s bowling while the big wicket of Gambhir — who is KKR’s most successful captain winning two IPLs with them — fell to U-19 World Cup winner Shivam Mavi (1/14). Pant and Maxwell then associated for a 62-run stand for the fourth wicket before the former holed out to Chawla at deep midwicket off Yadav.
From there on, it was all downhill for Delhi as they lost wickets in a hurry. Earlier, Rana cracked a fine half century while Russell blasted a 12-ball 44 to propel KKR to 200/9 in 20 overs. He played a gem of an innings, selecting his shots with aplomb, as he hit five fours and four sixes to set up KKR’s onslaught and allow Russell, who was dropped on 7 by Roy, to go for the big shots from the word go.
Rana took 35 balls for his 59. Russell hit six sixes in a three-over period where the hosts bludgeoned 54 runs before leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia (3/18) put a lid on the proceedings by taking three wickets in the last overs and conceding just one run. Rana and Russell stitched together a 61-run partnership in just 22 balls for the fifth wicket.