Russell & co shine as KKR demolishes RCB

Andre Russell, Varun Chakaravarthy and Lockie Ferguson shared the spoils as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by nine wickets in Match 31 of the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

After bowling out RCB for 92, KKR chased down the target, with 10 overs to spare and bagged two points.

Gill scored a quickfire 48 off 34 balls with the help of 6 fours and a six while Iyer, who was making his IPL debut, put an impressive show with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 41 off 27 balls.

The KKR openers did not look at any discomfort and went about their business in some style. The pair completed a fifty-run stand in the sixth over as KKR scored 56 at the end of the powerplay.

While Gill fell in the 10th over, Iyer hammered three fours in the same over to help KKR seal a comprehensive win.

Earlier, Virat Kohli – playing his 200th IPL game – won the toss and elected to bat.

KKR struck early as Prasidh Krishna scalped the big wicket for Kohli in the second over, trapping the RCB skipper before the wickets.

Devdutt Padikkal and KS Bharat then added 31 runs for the second wicket but the partnership was broken as Lockie Ferguson dismissed the left-hander on the final ball of the powerplay.

Andre Russell then joined the wicket-taking party, with his double-wicket over. The West Indian, first had KS Bharat caught in the deep in the ninth over and then had the prized scalp of AB de Villiers, disturbing the timber to reduce RCB to 51/4.

Varun Chakaravarthy then came to the party and picked three wickets and effected a run-out as KKR ran through the RCB batting line-up. While the mystery spinner missed out on a hat-trick, he dismissed Glenn Maxwell, Wanindu Hasaranga and Sachin Baby and returned with the figures of 3/13 from his four overs.

Ferguson and Russell then picked up a wicket each as KKR bowled out RCB for 92.

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 94/1 (Shubman Gill 48, Venkatesh Iyer 41*; Yuzvendra Chahal 1/23) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 92 all out (Devdutt Padikkal 22, KS Bharat 16; Andre Russell 3/9) by nine wickets

( Story & photos from IPLt20.com)

McCoy, Walsh Jr bowl WI to 18 run win over Aussies in opening CGI T20

An inexplicable Australian batting collapse has seen the West Indies draw first blood in the T20I series-opener with the hosts recoding a remarkable comeback victory following a jaw-dropping Andre Russell cameo.

Left-arm quick Obed McCoy’s somersaulting catch off his own bowling was the highlight in a stunning implosion of 7-38 from the visitors that handed the Windies an 18-run victory.

Russell (51 off 28) hit fives sixes including two out of the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in an incredible display of power-hitting that singlehandedly turned an otherwise lacklustre Windies batting effort into a competitive score of 6-145.

A career-best 51 off 31 from Mitch Marsh on the back of Matthew Wade’s quick-fire 33 off 14 (including three sixes) had the visitors flying at over 10 runs per over early in the chase.

WI skipper Nicholas Pooran celebrates the dismissal of his opposite number Aaron Finch (Photo: Getty Images)

But the loss of regular wickets left their tail with too much to do, with the new-look middle-order quartet of Josh Philippe (1), Moises Henriques (16 off 8), Ben McDermott (2 off 6) and Dan Christian (10 off 12) all failing to stay the course.

McCoy’s astonishing caught-and-bowled off Ashton Agar (1) all but sealed the Windies win, with leg-spinner Hayden Walsh (3-23) also instrumental in the comeback cheered vociferously under lights by the modest crowd allowed to attend.

Having been 3-70 at the end of the six-over Powerplay, the Australians lost their last six wickets for just 19 runs, including their last five in just 21 balls, to be bowled out for 127.

After his first over had cost 17, McCoy took the game-sealing wicket of Hazlewood to spark rapturous celebrations.

Armed with the knowledge seven of the last eight T20Is at this ground had been won by the team batting second, Australia smashed five sixes and lost three wickets inside the first six overs in an action-packed start to their innings.

After Aaron Finch was caught at cover for just four, Wade popped Russell over backward square twice in a 14-run first over for the allrounder before the Jamaican had the last laugh by having Wade caught on the deep-point boundary.

Henriques carted his first two balls for six off McCoy as Marsh continued the fireworks, but the Western Australian’s exit to Walsh to leave the score 6-117 was the first sign of the carnage to follow.

It was far cry from Australia’s earlier dominance after Finch elected to bowl first.

Josh Hazlewood exploited variable bounce in a terrific new-ball burst to claim the wickets of Evin Lewis (second-ball duck) and Chris Gayle as he conceded just three runs from his opening three overs.

Even conceding after a last-ball six from Dwayne Bravo, Hazlewood returned the equal sixth most economical four-over spell in T20Is by an Australian.

Dropped on five by Henriques, Russell made the Aussies pay by blasting five sixes in a breathtaking knock that was, surprisingly, just his first T20 International half-century.

His teammates offered little support as Lendl Simmons (27 off 28), Shimron Hetmyer (20 off 25) and Gayle (four off 10) all struggled against a tight bowling effort led by Hazlewood, Mitch Marsh (2-26 off four) and recalled veteran Dan Christian (0-10 off two overs).

Missing skipper Kieron Pollard due to a hamstring concern, the Windies’ woes were summed up by the stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran’s run out.

A strong lbw shout from Starc against Shimron Hetmyer caused confusion, with non-striker Pooran backing up too far and Josh Philippe swooping in with a direct hit.

The third umpire confirmed Pooran’s fate, but he had to wait while the lbw was considered given Finch had also signalled for a review.

Gayle’s lean run since returning to international cricket continued as Hazlewood worked him over, the Australian securing the wicket via a top-edged pull shot after the left-hander had scored from just one of his 10 deliveries.

The regular opener who is now batting at No.3 has 89 runs at 12.71 from eight T20I innings this year, and his strike-rate of 94.68 in that time is giving the Windies’ middle order a significant handicap.

(Story from cricket.com.au by Louis Cameron)