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IPL 2024: Russell's Blazing 64*, Salt's 54 Help KKR Post 208/7 After Early Stumble

Kolkata Knight Riders: Andre Russell struck a blazing half-century after Phil Salt had set the foundation with a 40-ball 54 to help Kolkata Knight Riders reach 208/7 in 20 overs and set Sunrisers Hyderabad the biggest chase ever at the Eden Gardens in the third match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 here on Saturday.

Phil Salt, who went unsold in the auction but came in as a replacement, struck three sixes off Marco Jansen in the third over but KKR lost three quick wickets to be 32/3 in the Power-play. Salt went on to complete a well-compiled 54 but Russell, who smashed seven maximums and three boundaries, changed the complexion of the match with brilliant, clean power-hitting as he and Rinku Singh raised 77 runs off four overs as KKR scored the first double-century score of IPL 2024 to leave SRH a big chase on their hands.

After the seasoned Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away only three runs in the opening over for SRH, Salt waded into Marco Jansen, smashing him for three sixes in the second over before some balance was restored as Sunil Narine ran himself out off the final delivery of the over, going for a non-existent single.

Pat Cummins pressed T Natarajan into the attack, and he added to KKR's woes by claiming two wickets in his first over. Venkatesh Iyer stepped down to flick him for a four and then tried to drive on the up on a wide one and Jansen picked a fine catch.

A delivery later, KKR were down to 32/3 in the fourth over when Shreyas Iyer tried to loft a fullish delivery over the off-side and Cummins pouched a smart catch above his head to send his opposite number back.

Nitish Rana did not last long but Ramandeep Singh hammered a 17-ball 35, hitting four sixes and one four in his brief cameo. He top-edged Cummins for a four and then hooked a short one flat into the advertising boards in the ninth over. Ramandeep Singh followed that up with a big six off leggie Mayank Markande and then swung a short one from Marco Jansen high into the crowd for his third six. A big six over cover off a Shahbaz Ahmed no-ball as he and Salt completed fifty off their partnership off 27 balls, and also took KKR past the 100-run mark.

Pat Cummins got SRH back into the match when he had Ramandeep Singh chipping to cover where Markande took a fine diving catch to make it 105/5 in the 13th over.

Salt continued to hold the other end up and raced to his third half-century in IPL and first for KKR, off 38 balls, hitting three boundaries and as many maximums. However, he could not stay longer at the wicket as he tried to hit Markande into the crowd, but the tall Marco Jansen plucked a superb catch near the boundary rope to end his innings for 54 off 40 balls. KKR were 119/6 in the 14th over and staring down the barrel.

But their brilliant finishers Rinku Singh and Andre Russell had other ideas as they raised a blazing half-century partnership to help them to a big total. They added 81 runs for the seventh wicket partnership with Rinku contributing 23 off 15 balls and Russel hammering the remaining. They raised 77 runs off four overs to pull KKR to safety.

Russell slog-swept, swung over deep midwicket, and pumped over long-on Markande for three huge sixes in the 16th over and then hammered a six and a four off successive balls off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. A big six into the crowd off Natarajan and a boundary off Bhuvi helped him race to his first half-century for KKR off just 20 balls. He blasted seven sixes in all as they reached a big score, leaving SRH a mountain to climb to win the match.

Brief scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders 208/7 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 64 not out, Phil Salt 54, Ramandeep Singh 35; T. Natarajan 3-32, Mayank Markande 2-39) against Sunrisers Hyderabad.