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Russell, Gill heroics keep KKR alive

28th April 2019
Andre Russell's all-round show along with youngster Shubman Gill's batting masterclass kept Kolkata Knight Riders alive in the race for the playoffs by beating Mumbai Indians by 34 runs in an Indian Premier League encounter at Eden Gardens today.
Hardik Pandya's blistering knock of 91 off 34 balls went in vain while chasing the highest score of this season, which is 232/2 as the home team restricted them to 198/7.
Put to bat first KKR rode on Gill's fluent 76 off 45 balls along with Russell's unbeaten 80 to post a mammoth total and later the Jamaican took 2 wickets also leaking just 25 runs.
While chasing Kolkata reduced Mumbai to 58/4 to make this contest one sided till Hardik came into the scene and at one point made even this mammoth target chase look doable.
Pandya hit 9 sixes and 6 boundaries to score a quickfire 34-ball 91 till Russell caught him off Gurney to end the last hope for Mumbai in this huge chase.
Apart from Russell, Narine and Gurney also bagged 2 wickets apiece as Kolkata climbed up the ladder to reach fifth while MI are at third.
Earlier, Gill proved why he is considered as the future star for India as the youngster showed great ability to adapt according to the situation and set the platform for later batters to come.
The Punjab batter stiched a 96-run opening partnership with Chris Lynn to give Kolkata in the do or die situation.
Mumbai paid the price for dropping Lynn and Russell, as the Australian who was given a lifeline on 18 later smashed a blistering 54 off just 29 deliveries which included 8 fours and 2 sixes before being caught by Evin Lewis off Hardik Pandya.
The rhythm was already set and the KKR management took the best possible decision in this ongoing IPL by promoting in form Russell up the order.
Coming into bat at third Russell survived a scare on 1 as Lewis droppes him at deep midwicket but after that the Jamaican made no mistake and ensured that Rohit Sharma and men pay the price.
Gill smashed a 45-ball 76 crafted with 4 sixes and 6 boundaries to set up the platform for the highest score of this season.
There's no word to describe the destruction that Russell caused to the Mumbai bowlers later.
The Jamaican smashed 8 sixes and 6 boundaries to stay unbeaten on 80 which came off only 40 deliveries to help the hosts post 232/2 in their last home game of the season.

Rio Dutta