Andre Russell was once again the brightest star at the Eden Gardens after his all-round performance propelling the Kolkata Knight Riders to a win against the visiting Kings XI Punjab.
The small boundaries and a flat surface in Kolkata meant a perfect recipe for a run-fest. What transpired ahead was evidence for that. Heading into the fixture, the hosts played an unchanged XI while Ashwin named four changes to his eleven with two players being handed their debuts.
Having chosen to bowl first after winning the toss, Ashwin and co. had a lot of difficulties to contain Narine, who made his return at the top of the order. A minor slump in the form of the loss of openers in quick succession did not hamper KKR as Nitish Rana and veteran Robin Uthappa steadied the ship with a 100-run stand.
Nitish Rana continued his fine run of form with his second successive half-century. The former Mumbai Indians’ player managed to capture the Orange Cap in the process.
The talking point of the fixture came shining on Ashwin yet again as Russell’s dismissal at 3 was considered null and void after the umpire discovered that only 3 players were inside the thirty-yard ring. The remainder of the death overs were flooded with boundaries by Russell who smashed 48 off 17 balls. The Knight Riders eventually ended up with 218-4, the highest ever score at Eden Gardens in the history of IPL.
Been set a target of 219, the visitors had an awful start with the openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle falling cheaply. Sarfaraz Khan did not trouble the scorecard too much as well.
The fifties from Mayank Agarwal and the returning David Miller kept Punjab in the hunt before they fizzed away as well to hand the Kolkata Knight Riders a 28-run victory to join Chennai Super Kings at the top of the pile.
KKR 218-4 (R.Uthappa 67*, N.Rana 63, A.Russell 47; V.Chakravarthy 1-35)
KXIP 190-4 (D.Miller 59, M.Agarwal 58; A.Russell 2-21)
Man Of The Match: Andre Russell