By the end of the 17th over of the chase, KKR fans probably had given up on all the hope of winning their opening encounter against SRH at home. Despite Russell’s presence in the middle, the target of 53 in last 3 overs looked beyond them. After all, no team has overcome such odds in the entire IPL history. Surely KKR could not do it against a potent bowling attack as the SRH. KKR did. Andre Russell did. Andre Russel hit four sixes and four fours to overcome the target with talented Shubman Gill at the other end. And he did so nonchalantly.
KKR won a crucial Toss and chose to field first. They could not find any success as David Warner and Jonny Bairstow propelled the SRH innings to above 100 without any trouble and at a good pace. Once these two got out, KKR squeezed the SRH innings as they found some late swing in the later stages. 200 looked possible at one stage but KKR restricted the Sunrisers for 183. Still above par.
In the chase, KKR lost Lynn early but then Nitish Rana along with Robin Uthappa tucked along nicely but could not do so fast enough. When Rana got out in the 16th over, KKR still needed 67 of 27 balls. A tough ask. But then Andre Russell’s exploit changed the equation of the game as SRH faltered in the bowling. Shubman Gill finished the formalities with a couple of sixes off Shakib Al Hasan to end the match in style.
Nitish Rana top-scored for KKR with 68 at the strike rate of 144.68. Man of the match Andre Russell scored 49 of just 19 delivers at the strike rate of above 250. Russel also took 2 wickets to restrict SRH batting. Piyush Chawla was the only other bowler, out of the 7 tried by KKR, who succeeded in taking a wicket. Chawla ended up with figures of 23 for 1 in 3 overs.
SRH, the last IPL's finalist, would have hoped to pull this one off especially when they had to defend more than 50 in last 3 overs. It was just a matter of few dot balls or a small mistake by Andre Russell. Both did not come as SRH saw themselves taken to the cleaners by a nerveless Andre Russell. Across the IPL SRH have scored 14 times in excess of 180. This was just the third loss they had to endure in such a case.
Put into bat by KKR, David Warner started the comeback innings in some style on a difficult pitch. He along with Jonny Bairstow, who scored a steady 39, got the Sunrisers past 100 without any wickets as the duo pit on 118 on board without any wickets within 13 overs. A score of 200 was definitely on the cards. Jonny Bairstow was the first to go but David Warner continued the scoring at a brisk pace. However, when Russell got him out in the 16th over the run rate started to dip. Though SRH did not give wickets in a hurry, they did not score as quickly as they would have wished. Vijay Shankar’s handy cameo helped SRH reach 181 eventually.
The defense began well for SRH as they removed dangerous looking Chris Lynn cheaply. Later, SRH did not allow Rana and Uthappa to get going at a rapid pace as the required run rate kept climbing up. Three quick wickets for SRH meant KKR were reduced from 87 for 1 to 118 for 4 by the sixteenth over. Everything was looking under control for SRH until Andre Russell decided to take the matters in his own hands. The good deliveries went to the boundary as the bad ones. Sunrisers had no answers for his blitz.
David Warner was the highest scorer for SRH with 85 to his name where Vijay Shankar played a cameo of 40 of just 24 deliveries in the end stages of the innings. Except for Captain Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, all the other bowlers took one wicket each.
The Knight Riders will play their second match at home against Kings Xi Panjab on 27 March 2019. KKR will look to work on their opening bowling combination as they will be pitted against Chris Gayle and KL Rahul in that encounter.
The Sunrisers will be looking put this heartbreaking defeat behind them as soon as possible. Such defeats at the beginning of the season could have long term effects. They will be looking to get their first win against Rajasthan Royals at home on 29 March 2019!
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