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KKR vs GT: Russell's all-around heroics nearly pull off a coup in eight-run loss

Andre Russell’s all-round efforts which included a four-wicket final over and a 25-ball 48 were not enough as the Kolkata Knight Riders suffered an eight run loss against Gujarat Titans at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.

Chasing 157, the Knight Riders were struggling at 31 for 4 in 6.1 overs with the Titans' quicks using the short ball to good effect, before Rinku Singh, who completed 1000 T20 runs, scored a crucial 28-ball 35, hitting four fours and a six and stitched a 45-run partnership with Venkatesh Iyer (17) for the fifth wicket. By the time both were dismissed, the required run-rate had climbed up to 9.21 RPO.

Russell singlehandedly kept the Knight Riders in the chase hitting six sixes and a four. Having entered the chase with the side tottering at 79 for 5, he fended a bumper from Yash Dayal straight down fine leg’s throat only to be handed a reprieve after a no-ball call. He struck Dayal for back-to-back sixes in the same over and later took the game deep with 18 needed off the final over. 

He dispatched a full toss from Alzarri Joseph over long-on for his sixth six but holed out to Lockie Ferguson the next ball, who took a tumbling catch to seal the game in Titans’ table-topping effort. 

 

Earlier in the day, Gujarat Titans' skipper Hardik Pandya won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that assisted the fast bowlers with the cracks opening up as the game progressed. While Pandya replaced Vijay Shankar in their squad, KKR made three changes with Tim Southee returning in place of Pat Cummins, Sam Billings back to replace Aaron Finch and Sheldon Jackson making way for Rinku Singh. 

Southee (3/24) made the first breakthrough off his first delivery having Shubhman Gill nicking to the keeper down the leg side. Thereafter, Wriddhiman Saha (25) and Hardik Pandya put on a 75-run stand which ended in the eleventh over with Saha spooning a catch to backward point. Pandya brought up his 7th IPL half-century and his third of the season hitting four fours and two sixes. 

The wicket of David Miller (23) caught at point off Shivam Mavi in the seventeenth over precipitated a stunning collapse that saw the Titans lose seven wickets for mere 23 runs to slide from 133 for 2 in 16.2 overs to 156 for 9 in 20 overs. The death overs phase also saw the Knight Riders concede just two boundaries, a phase where they had conceded runs at 13.62 per over - worst amongst all teams. Russell, bowling the final over, picked four wickets in the over to become the first quick in the IPL to take four wickets in a single over after Abhinav Manohar and Lockie Ferguson holed out to Rinku Singh at deep midwicket before Rahul Tewatia found him again at sweeper and Dayal chipped a return catch to Russell.