HYDERABAD, India (CMC) — An astonishing halfcentury from West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell fired Kolkata Knight Riders to a sensational threewicket win over Chennai Super Kings in the opening game of the Champions League Twenty20 here yesterday.
Seemingly down and out at 51 for five in the ninth over in pursuit of 158, Knight Riders produced a superb recovery to reach their target with an over to spare at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, with Russell smashing a whirlwind 58 from 25 deliveries.
The big-hitting Jamaican added 80 for the sixth wicket with Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate, who finished on 51 not out from 41 balls, and it was their partnership which turned the game on its head.
Russell hammered four fours and five sixes while ten Doeschate managed a four and a six.
Sent in, Super Kings were restricted to 157 for four off their 20 overs, with captain MS Dhoni top-scoring with 35 from 20 balls with three fours and two sixes, and West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo hitting an unbeaten, run-a-ball 28, which included two fours and two sixes.
The pair came together with the innings in decline at 84 for four in the 13th over, and added a responsible 71 in an unbroken fifth wicket stand.
West Indies Twenty20 opener Dwayne Smith failed to come off, striking four fours in a 13-ball 20 as he put on 37 for the first wicket with New Zealander Brendon McCullum who hit 22 from 19 balls.
Leg-spinner Puyesh Chawla took two for 26 but it was West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine who slowed the scoring with a brilliant spell of one for nine from his four overs.
Knight Riders then had the worst possible start, slipping to 21 for four in the fifth over, as experienced left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra grabbed three wickets at the top.
He claimed Gautam Gambhir for six to a catch at mid-on by Bravo, Manish Pandey without scoring off the very next ball before also prising out Manvinder Bisla for two.
When Suryakumar Yadav top-edged the last ball of leftarm spinner Ravindra Jadeja’s first ball to be caught at third man, Knight Riders had lost their fifth wicket and were in strife.
Russell strode to the wicket and was immediately into his stride, twice clearing the onside boundary in Jadeja’s next over while also cutting him for four, in the 11th over of the innings that cost 17 runs.
He smashed off-spinner Ravi Ashwin over wide long for his third six and then twice clobbered seamer Mohit Sharma for leg-side sixes – the last of which raised his half-century off 22 balls.
Russell lost his off-stump to Nehra in the next over by Nehra but by then the required run rate down to six and victory virtually assured.