Andre Russell was the star of the show as Kolkata Knight Riders kept themselves afloat, at least on paper, for a spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 playoffs with a 54-run win against SunRisers Hyderabad at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Saturday. Before taking three wickets with ball in hand, Russell also smashed an unbeaten 49 off just 28 deliveries to take KKR to a commendable total of 177/6. He was especially brutal in the final over of KKR’s innings as SRH opted to go for the unconventional and bowl off-spinner Washington Sundar. Russell smashed the hapless Sundar for three sixes, with 20 runs coming off the over.
Former India batter Aakash Chopra was not impressed with Williamson’s tactics and recalled that the SRH skipper had opted for a spinner – Jagadeesha Suchith – in the 20th over in the previous fixture between the two teams at the Brabourne Stadium and he too was punished by Russell.
“Kane the captain, I think, that’s the scrutiny as well. Twice now, against the same unit. Jageesha Suchith bowled the last over at the Brabourne Stadium and here it’s Washington Sundar. I mean, how?” an exasperated Aakash Chopra said on Star Sports after the match.
“And this is Kane Williamson, who is arguably one of the better cricketing brains on the planet, but has now goofed up twice, and that too against Andre Russell,” he said.
“That’s like sending a lamb to a slaughterhouse. What do you get? You get slaughtered, that’s it,” he said about the move to send Washington Sundar in the 20th over.
In the previous fixture, Russell had scored another unbeaten 49 and hit Suchith for two sixes and a boundary in the 20th over to help KKR reach 175. But on that occasion, SRH managed to chase down the total.
This time, however, Russell’s 3/22 helped restrict the Williamson-led side to 123/8.
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