Umesh Yadav continued his dream run with a four-wicket haul before Andre Russell returned to his brutal best to fire Kolkata Knight Riders to an easy six-wicket win over Punjab Kings on Friday (April 2).
Umesh (4/23), coming into the season with just two games over two IPL seasons and going unsold initially at the auction, produced career-best T20 figures to help KKR dismiss Punjab for a below-par 137 in 18.2 overs.
It was supposed to be a straightforward chase but Rahul Chahar raised Punjab’s hopes with a double-wicket maiden to reduce KKR to 51 for four.
However, Russell (70 not out off 31 balls) came out in the middle and changed the game with his barrage of sixes, eight in total, to make it a cakewalk in just 14.3 overs. He smashed three sixes off Odean Smith in an over that went for 30 runs.
No rope is long enough when Russell is going all guns blazing and he was in that kind of zone on Friday night. The Jamaican dasher fittingly ended the game with a couple of sixes off Liam Livingstone’s friendly leg-breaks.
Meanwhile, KKR co-owner and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan took to Twitter to share a special message for Russel and Yadav while congratulating KKR for the win.
SRK tweeted: “Welcome back my friend @Russell12A so long since saw the ball fly so high!!! It takes a life of its own when U hit it Man! And @y_umesh wow! To @ShreyasIyer15 & team well done. Have a happy nite boys.”
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) April 1, 2022
Notably, it was KKR’s second win in three games while Punjab suffered their first loss of the season after the win over RCB.
Earlier, KKR won the toss, and Shreyas Iyer elected to bowl first. Punjab Kings’ batters never settled in front of the KKR bowling attack but it was Kagiso Rabada, who fired 25 runs at the end of the innings to put up a respective total for his new team.