Recent Match Report – Punjab Kings vs KKR 8th Match 2022
After Umesh’s four-for restricted Kings, Russell came to the rescue in a shaky chase to lift KKR to the top of the table
Kolkata Knight Riders 141 for 4 (Russell 70*, Shreyas 26, Chahar 2-13) beat Punjab Kings 137 (Rajapaksha 31, Umesh 4-23) by six wickets
Two of the most exciting sides in this IPL threw punch after punch at each other, but in the end Punjab Kings backed off slightly against Kolkata Knight Riders, and paid a big price.
Kings played the game Knight Riders did two nights ago in an attempt to provide for the inevitable dew and chasing advantage: just keep going hard and refuse to rebuild until that is the last option left. It is a shame that just like for Knight Riders, it didn’t work out for Kings. They were bowled out for 137 with 10 balls to spare, a total Knight Riders chased down in 14.3 overs despite being 51 for 4.
Crash, bang, wallop
Of the eight sixes that he hit, Russell said he nailed only one; that’s how difficult it was going to be to defend if Kings had put on a par score. And with the build-up of their side, they were not going to go for a par score. Mayank Agarwal got himself out playing across the line in the first over. Bhanuka Rajapaksa responded with some sweet aerial clips on the leg side in a nine-ball 31, but the suffering bowler Shivam Mavi got him with an aggressive short ball. Tim Southee then got the better of Shikhar Dhawan, who had just started to hit out, with an offcutter. Kings 62 for 3 in 5.5 overs.
Chakravarthy, Narine apply brakes
These three overs might not get spoken about a lot, but Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine combined to bowl overs five, six and eight without a single boundary, conceding just 16 runs. In the middle was Liam Livingstone. It was all building up to something.
Shreyas didn’t try to sneak in a cheap over here. He went right back to Umesh Yadav, the joint-leading wicket-taker in the IPL at that point. Umesh produced the wicket of Livingstone, refusing to give him a length full enough to loft. Narine then got the better of Raj Bawa. At 85 for 5 in the 10th over, Kings made their first defensive move, holding back Odean Smith for later.
Chakravarthy and Narine, though, tightened the screws with two tight overs. Denied strike and runs, Shahrukh Khan jumped at the first ball of a new Southee over, and ended up top-edging a skier. Shreyas went to Umesh again, and he took out Harpreet Brar and Rahul Chahar to make it 102 for 8 in the 15th over.
Shreyas now thought he could perhaps get away with not having to go back to Mavi. He bowled Chakravarthy’s last in the 16th and Southee’s in the 17th. Rabada, who couldn’t lay bat on Chakravarthy, enjoyed the pace Southee provided to take 16 runs off his over. And when Mavi travelled, too, it seemed Shreyas might have to pay for his aggression.
Russell, though, ended the innings in two balls in the 19th over.
Crash, bang, wallop, part 2
Ajinkya Rahane hit two fours in the first over. Out in the next. Venkatesh Iyer tried to blast one through cover-point. Caught. Shreyas ran away to 26 off 11, but tried to burst through his poor match-up against Chahar, and was caught off the slog sweep to make it three dismissals in 15 balls against the legspinner. Chahar then produced a beauty to have Nitish Rana lbw.
The Russell show
Not often does Russell get to bat inside the first 10 overs. He says his ideal entry point is around the 15th over when around five overs are left in the innings. So one way to make an eighth-over entry ideal was to end the game in 13.
However, the way Russell played Chahar, it didn’t look like he was in any hurry. Two overs of Russell at the wicket, and not a single boundary scored or tried. It was getting uneasy. This is where Shreyas went for his wicket-takers in the first innings. Agarwal gave Harpreet’s slow left-arm another over. It was too much respect to ask of Russell. He took two sixes over the bigger boundary in that over before going ahead and playing out Chahar’s next.
Agarwal had no choice but to go to one of the quicker bowlers in the 12th, and he chose Smith over Rabada. Russell took his fellow Jamaican apart in the 30-run over, dismantling his round-the-wicket plan. Sam Billings, who played a calm hand, cashed in a free hit last ball of the over.
Russell still showed no ego, and proceeded to play out Chahar’s final over even when the asking rate was under four an over. He then took Knight Riders home in the 15th over with successive sixes off Livingstone. Almost the ideal entry point then.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo