IPL 2024: Andre Russell Stars With Bat and Ball as KKR Hold Nerve to Beat SRH by 4 Runs


What seemed like an easy win for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at one stage was certainly made hard by a resilient Heinrich Klassen who fought until falling prey to rookie Harshit Rana in the final over. Ultimately, it was the home team that managed to cross the finish line, beginning their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 campaign with a thrilling 4-run win over Pat Cummins’ Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens.

SRH began their mammoth chase with Mayank Agarwal and Abhishek Sharma as the former attacked the bowlers from the word go. The pair got to their 50-run partnership in less than run-a-ball. Harshit Rana sent Mayank packing with some short balls as he pulled one straight to Rinku. The sendoff, a kiss.

Abhishek carried on his attack, hitting Varun Chakaravarthy as well as Narine, but was silenced by Russell with a well-directed bouncer. Rahul Tripathi was dropped by Chakaravarthy off Narine as he and Aiden Markram came together to maintain the run-rate as at the halfway stage, SRH were one shy of a hundred. At this point, the game was halted as one of Tripathi hit Suyash Sharma straight but the shot hit Umpire Rohan Pandit.

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Narine would have dismissed Tripathi but did not go appeal. Replays showed that it would be LBW. The trio of KKR spinners started to stem the flow of runs as the asking rate kept climbing. With that came wickets.

With Heinrich Klaasen and Abdul Samad at the crease and the KKR spinners in action, SRH could manage only 31 runs from the next five overs. Narine completed his quota of four overs without even conceding a single boundary.

In the 17th over, Abdul Samad seemed like he was finally cutting loose as he handed out some of his own medicine to Russell. A six and four to start the over but it was the West Indian who had the last laugh. Half the side back in the dugout, the required rate over 20.

Klaasen had enough, he launched Chakaravarthy for three sixes in the very next over to bring down the asking rate. KKR’s replay, bring back Starc. The result, is the same plus one more from Shahbaz Ahmed. 24 runs for INR 24.75 crore.

13 needed off the last over and Klaasen greeted Harshit back into the attack with a six. One run on the second as Shahbaz holed it to Shreyas. Jansen took a single as Klaasen sliced ​​the penultimate ball in the air with Suyash taking a good catch running back. Cummins walked out with five runs still needed. Harshit bowled a slower delivery outside off and the SRH failed to make any contact on the ball. A win by the barest of margins.

KKR’s Experiment with Openers

After last season’s seven opening combinations, KKR opted for a fresh one again. One that had not batted together and it showed. Despite an attacking Salt, miscommunication meant Narine had to walk back after a silly run out.

Venkatesh Iyer joined Salt in the assault but T Natarajan had the last laugh as the batter tried one shot too many. Skipper Shreyas Iyer walked back with a duck. His ‘comeback’ from injury was cut short as Shreyas Iyer tried to clear the in-field and found Pat Cummins in the 30-year circle.

Nitish Rana survived a scare just after the fielding restriction was over but Mayank Markande sent him back soon after. That brought Ramandeep Singh out to the crease. He and Salt were out on a 53-run partnership to resurrect the KKR innings.

The likes of Jansen, Markande and Shahbaz Ahmed were taken apart by the creative duo. Cummin brought himself on to break the partnership as Markande produced a stunning diving catch.

Rinku Singh came out but Salt was on his way back after a terrific 40-ball 54 with Jansen producing another stunner in the deep.

The ‘Russell Mania’ at Eden Gardens

Out walked Andre Russell. Put muscle and clean hitting followed. The duo put on an 81-run partnership from just 33 deliveries as the West Indian superstar threw his heavy bat at everything and most connected, leaving the ball with the crowds in the stands.

Rinku was caught in the deep, with the score having reached the 200-run mark as KKR set SRH a daunting total of 208/7 from their 20 overs.

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