Despite late heroics from Andre Russell with the bat, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) fell to their fourth successive defeat against Gujarat Titans (GT) in the 35th match of this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Having won the toss, GT skipper Hardik Pandya decided to bat first against a KKR team that started the tournament strongly, but have fallen behind in recent games.
Opening for GT, Shubman Gill, who had been in good form, was sent back quickly, having scored just seven runs. But his partner Wriddhiman Saha went on alongside the captain Hardik Pandya to give GT a good start.
Saha was dismissed having scored 25 runs with GT at 83 for the loss of two wickets. Pandya went on from there and played an excellent innings, scoring 67 runs. He alongside David Miller (27) put GT to a respectable position with KKR coming back with the ball. Towards the end, Rahul Tewatia added another 17 runs to the total to take GT to 156.
Andre Russell had a good outing even with the ball, picking up four wickets and giving away just five runs, after being given the final over, his only of the match, to bowl. Tim Southee was the other bowler who did well for KKR with figures of three wickets for 24 runs in his four overs.
Both Umesh Yadav and Shivam Mavi proved costly, giving away 31 and 36 runs respectively and picking one wicket each. Sunil Narine, meanwhile, had a day to forget as he did not get a wicket and shipped away 31 runs.
Coming in bat with a target of 157 for the victory, KKR had the worst possible start. Both the openers, Sam Billings and Sunil Narine were sent home for a combined total of just nine runs. Even skipper Shreyas Iyer failed to kick off and was sent back having scored just 12 runs.
With just 16 runs on the board and three wickets gone, KKR kept losing more wickets at regular intervals. Rinku Singh and Venkatesh Iyer tried to steer the innings after the entire top order failed for KKR but with Singh dismissed for 35 and the team reeling at 79 at the loss of five wickets, it was all but over for the team from Kolkata.
However, man of the hour, Andre Russell had other plans as he came in to play like he usually does, smacking the ball out of the park. His explosive innings gave the KKR faithful some hope but with his dismissal at 48 runs, all hope was gone.
He had brought KKR close to winning but GT’s Alzarri Joseph got the all important wicket and saw out the over, handing KKR their fourth successive defeat. In the end, Umesh Yadav’s 15 runs went in vain as the team fell to a defeat by eight runs to the Titans.
For GT, both Rashid Khan and Mohammed Shami excelled with the ball, giving away 22 and 20 runs respectively, and getting two wickets each, while Yash Dayal also got two wickets but was comparatively expensive, giving away 42 runs. Lockie Ferguson and Alzarri Jospeh rounded off the win with a wicket each to their name.