Andre Russell has done the impossible and out of nowhere won the opening encounter of the Indian Premier League for Kolkata Knight Riders against SunRisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens.
KKR required 53 runs from 3 overs and the match looked well and truly over. But not for Russell as he plundered Sidharth Kaul for 19 runs and followed it up by hitting Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 21 runs. Shakib was tasked with bowling the last over and started with a wide but Russell scored only a single off the next ball. Shubman Gill then took over and ran down the wicket to hit Shakib for two sixes and KKR did the impossible.
Twitter naturally went mad as both Russell and Gill were bargain buys at the auctions.
That was a vintage Russell innings. From a powerful base he hit cleanly down the ground, targeting the areas in front of square. He scored 23 off five good length balls. If it's in his half it is normally heading to the boundary. #IPL #KKRvSRH pic.twitter.com/63gnfG6ezl— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) March 24, 2019
Earlier in the day, Dinesh Karthik won the toss and elected to field first but it did not according to plan for the KKR captain. David Warner scored 85 runs and SRH put on a century-run opening stand. Piyush Chawla got the first wicket and it was of Jonny Bairstow but it was the dismissal of Warner that slowed the SRH charge as they looked set to notch up 200 runs. This was Warner's first match back in the IPL since the 'Sandpapergate' in Cape Town last year.
Chasing 182 runs to win the match, KKR made a disastrous start by losing the wicket of Chris Lynn early and for much of the chase, they looked behind the required run rate. Nitish Rana scored a brisk half-century but when he was dismissed by Rashid Khan, the chase looked all but lost.
Right then, with 53 runs required from 18 balls, stepped in Andre Russell and smashed Sidharth Kaul for two sixes of the first two balls of the 18th over. He hit another boundary and brought the equation to 34 from 2 overs. But even Bhuvi wilted under the onslaught as he went for 21 runs as Russell hit two sixes and a boundary in that over. In the last over, young Gill joined the party and hit two classy sixes over Shakib's head to notch up a memorable win for KKR.