West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell once again put his phenomenal powers on display, smashing a cameo and then snapping up a brace of wickets, to lift Kolkata Knight Riders to their second win in as many matches with a 28-run victory over Chris Gayle’s Kings XI Punjab here Wednesday.
Sent in at Eden Gardens, KKR piled up 218 for four off their 20 overs, with Robin Uthappa top-scoring with an unbeaten 67 off 50 deliveries and Nitish Rana getting an exhilarating 63 from 34 balls.
Russell arrived late to blast a sensational 48 off a mere 17 balls, handing KKR the up tempo type of finish they required.
In reply, Kings XI made a good fight of it before ending on 190 for four, with South African David Miller leading with 59 from 40 deliveries and Mayank Agarwal chipping in with 58 off 34 balls – the pair sharing a crucial 74 for the fourth wicket.
Mandeep Singh struck a quick-fire 33 not out off 15 balls in a 56-run, unbroken fifth wicket stand with Miller, in a failed attempt to get Kings XI over the line.
The left-handed Gayle made 20 off 13 balls with two fours and sixes before he fell to pacer Russell at 37 for two in the fifth over, top-edging a pull to be taken at mid-off.
Russell, who finished with two for 20 from three overs, then reduced the innings to 60 for three when he removed Sarfaraz Khan for 13 off a top edge to the keeper.
Jamaican Russell had earlier pummelled three fours and five sixes as he put on a scintillating 67 off 31 balls for the fourth wicket with Uthappa.
He perished with two balls remaining in the innings, holing out to a brilliant catch at deep mid-wicket by Agarwal off seamer Andrew Tye.
Sunil Narine had blasted three sixes and a four in a nine-ball 24 at the top of the order before both he and opening partner Chris Lynn (10) fell in successive overs to leave KKR on 36 for two in the fourth over.
Uthappa and Rana posted 110 for the third wicket to rebuild the innings, laying the ideal foundation for Russell’s fireworks.