Eden Gardens once again witnessed the 'Russllemania' as the prolific all-rounder smashed a blistering 80 and took two for 25 to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to a 34-run win over Mumbai Indians. Posting a mammoth total of 232/2 after being put to bat, Mumbai Indians gave their all but fell short evidently despite Hardik Pandya smashing a blistering 91 off 34 balls.
Shubman Gill (76), Chris Lynn (54) and Russell took the visitors for a rollercoaster ride to post 232/2 in 20 overs. Mumbai's top and middle order were seen off early but once Hardik came on, he took Kolkata's bowling for a ride. His innings consisted of 6 fours and 9 sixes.At 58 for four, Mumbai were down and out but Hardik reignited their hopes with a breathtaking 91 off 34 balls. In the end, Pandya's dismissal in the 18th over sealed the game in KKR's favour as Mumbai ended at 198 for seven.
The much needed win keeps KKR alive in the tournament as they now have 10 points from 12 matches. Mumbai remain in third spot with 14 points from 12 games. Staring at elimination, the embattled KKR got off to a fiery start with Shubman Gill (76) and Chris Lynn (54) putting on a 96-run opening stand, their highest this season, after Rohit Sharma opted to bowl in his 100th match as captain.Russell, KKR's biggest impact player of the season, was finally seen higher up the order at No 3. The West Indies power-hitter ensured that KKR finished on a high with an unbeaten effort.
Russell hammered six fours and eight sixes including one off the last ball after he denied a couple of singles to skipper Dinesh Karthik in the last over as KKR creamed 75 runs from the last five overs and scored 135 in the final 10.Fielding let down Mumbai Indians big time with both Lynn and Russell dropped early in their innings by Kieron Pollard and Evin Lewis respectively.
The top-order batting was all about the sheer class of the 19-year-old Gill, who showed why he is billed as the future star of Indian cricket.Gill smashed six fours and four sixes en route to his second half-century of the season and forged a crucial stand with Russell. The duo shared 62 runs from 35 balls of which Gill had a share of 34, while Russell scored 24.Gill was at his best against Rahul Chahar and three of his four sixes came against the leg-spinner.
Such was the sheer class of Gill that Russell was glad to play second fiddle and was six off 12 balls after being dropped on one. On a belter of a track, KKR openers got off to a sensational start and survived the powerplay without losing a wicket for their highest opening stand -96 - this season.Slow to start with, Lynn was 18 off 15 balls when Kieron Pollard spilled a chance from the Aussie at mid-off.Lynn took off from there on, hammering the spin duo of Krunal Pandya and Chahar to race to his fourth IPL fifty this season off just 27 balls.