Andre Russell has struggled to find his form in the ongoing season of IPL, with four single-digit scores in eight matches and a highest score of 38*. Despite starting with sixes against Rashid Khan in the game against Gujarat Titans, Andre Russell was unable to reach the kind of total that was expected of him.
Andre Russell finished with 34 runs off 19 balls as Kolkata Knight Riders posted a total of 179 for 7 against GT at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. During the mid-innings interview, Andre Russell had no intentions to hide his disappointment and expressed his dissatisfaction with the total that his team ended up with on a flat batting track. “I’m not happy at all looking at the total we’ve got,” said Andre Russell.
When asked about the ideal total for the pitch, Andre Russell responded that something around 200 would have been ideal, especially given the start they got. “I think this pitch is a 190-200 wicket, so we are about 20 runs short. We only have ourselves to blame.”
Rahman Ullah Gurbaz returned to the side after Jason Roy pulled out due to a back spasm and smashed seven sixes and five fours in his 39-ball knock, recording his second fifty of the season.
However, KKR failed to make good use of the final few overs after rookie Afghanistan spinner Noor Ahmed (4-0-21-2) dismissed Rahman Ullah Gurbaz for 81 with compatriot Rashid Khan completing a well-judged catch. Mohammed Shami (3/33 in 4 overs) and Irishman Josh Little (2/25 in 4 overs) played their part to perfection in restricting KKR.
At 135/5, KKR still had the firepower of Andre Russell and Rinku Singh with 28 balls remaining. However, they were unable to surpass the 200-mark, which always provides a team with a psychological edge. Noor claimed his second victim in Rinku, while the “birthday boy” Russell could not express himself fully as the GT bowlers did well to limit him to a 19-ball 34 not out (2×4, 3×6).
GT easily achieved the target with 7 wickets in hand in the 18th over, proving Andre Russell’s words during the mid innings interview. They had a comfortable chase with opener Shubman Gill providing a good start.
Although there was a brief period where Gill (49) and Hardik Pandya (25) fell in successive overs, KKR made a comeback. But it was short-lived as Vijay Shankar (51* off 24) and David Miller (32* off 18) took charge and led their team to victory. The defending champions registered their fourth consecutive away win.