IPL 2018: Match 44, KXIP vs KKR - Rating of the Match

IPL 2018: Match 44, KXIP vs KKR – Rating of the Match

It was the duo of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell which won the match for KKR and KL Rahul's yet another valiant knock went in vain.

Andre Russell
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Andre Russell in action. (Photo by IANS)

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) managed to win the run-fest by a significant margin which has kept them alive in the tournament. Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) tried their best to gun down the total but the required run-rate kept on soaring with every dot ball and eventually they lost the game to put their playoff qualification in jeopardy. However, the credit has to go to the visitors who came out all guns blazing with the bat and posted the highest total of this season after which the bowlers did enough to defend the total.

Narine rallies along (75 off 36 & 1/44)

The run-fest was started by Sunil Narine who struck form in the all-important game for the Men in Purple and Gold. It as nicely set up for him as the pitch was a featherbed for the batsmen and the powerplay overs were just an icing on the cake. The teams, this season, have figured out the short ball proves to be the undoing of Narine and Punjab missed the trick big time. More importantly their skipper R Ashwin who came on to bowl after Mujeeb Zadran got injured in the middle of his over.

Narine feasted on Ashwin’s loppy off-spin bowling by smashing him into the stands. Barinder Sran came on to bowl right away in the next over and expose his weakness but he had got his eye in and was ready to smack any kind of delivery out of the park. One of the short deliveries took the edge and went over the short fine leg to add to the frustration of the hosts. Again the decision to give the ball to Axar Patel was baffling as Narine tore him apart completely.

However, despite all the carnage earlier, the 11th over of the innings was full of runs for the Caribbean player. He took the attack to Sran and a flick shot in the air which he hit was absolutely special. It was a slower delivery on middle and leg and Narine just flicked it in the air with his motions going strong which magically went for six when all felt he has mistimed the loft. Though the fun didn’t last for long and he was sent back by Andrew Tye but not before scoring 75 runs with 9 fours and the ball reached the stands four times off his bat.

Narine went for runs with the ball in hand but the champion bowler picked the prized scalp of the day. He strangled KL Rahul down the leg-side who was looking in the mood to single-handedly take his team close to the gigantic total. The wicket ended the contest completely as Punjab ended the game well short of the target.

Russell’s all-round show (31 off 14 and 3/41)

Andre Russell finally proved his worth to the team after going through a rough patch in the last few matches. But he was in the zone today and went on to score 31 off just 14 balls. He was promoted in the batting order to number 4 and the faith paid off immediately. He smashed a couple of fours and three maximums, one of which went on the roof of the Holkar Cricket Stadium.

But he made a special impact with the ball in hand. He dented the chase of Punjab by picking wickets during his spell. The set up to send back Chris Gayle was fantastic as he kept on altering his length from short to full continuously. The frustrated batsman then looked to whack the short delivery which only took the edge of his bat and the wicketkeeper did the rest. The next wicket was a similar one as Mayank Agarwal couldn’t control the well-directed bouncer from hitting it in the air and bagged a golden duck.

Then in his very next over, he scalped Karun Nair with a slower one this time to eventually end the hopes of the home side to gun down the total of 246. It was a slower off-cutter from Russell which Nair spotted and lofted it confidently in the air towards long-on. While for the most part, it looked like that will go for six until Prasidh Krishna came into the picture who times his jump only for the ball to stick in his left hand.

Here’s CricTracker’s Rating of the Match: