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Russell blitz after Salt fifty propels Knight Riders to 208/7

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Kolkata, March 23: Andre Russell unleashed his fury with an unbeaten 25-ball 64 after Phil Salt’s solid fifty as Kolkata Knight Riders overcame a sedate start to post an imposing 208 for 7 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL match here on Saturday.
Salt, who went unsold at the auction only to be named as a replacement for Jason Roy, got to his third IPL fifty in just 38 balls before being dismissed by Mayank Markande (3/39) while trying to accelerate. The Englishman made 54 off 40.
Russell teed off against Markande when he launched the SRH leg-spinner deep into the stands — three sixes in five balls.
Markande for a moment thought that he had the last laugh when Aiden Markram took a blinder at long-on but replays showed he grounded the forward diving catch, giving Russell a breather on 20.The warning signs were on for SRH and the Jamaican went ballistic in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s penultimate over hitting him for two fours and two sixes that eventually yielded 26 runs.Rinku Singh, at the other end, made a 15-ball 23 as the duo put together 81 runs from 33 balls as KKR scored 85 runs in the last five overs.
Left-arm seamer T Natarajan dismissed both Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer and along with veteran pacer Bhuvneshwar conceded just 16 runs in four overs to stifle KKR inside the powerplay.
Bhuvneshwar bowled a peach of an opening over when he swung the ball both ways to Salt and Sunil Narine, cramping them for room and gave away just three runs.
The world No. 2 T20I batter picked Marco Jansen to free his arms, smacking the lanky South African pacer for three consecutive sixes in the off-side corridor.
But KKR lost Narine out of the blue following a mix-up and after yet another tidy over by Bhuvneshwar, Cummins brought in Natarajan in a smart captaincy move.
It worked wonders as he dismissed Venkatesh and comeback skipper Shreyas in three balls, both falling to lofted shots.
Natarajan altered his length to deceive Venkatesh, while Shreyas, who missed the last season because of a back injury, got out for a two-ball duck with Cummins taking a blinder at long-off.
Markande also got into the act in his first over when he foxed Nitish Rana with a googly as the KKR vice-captain gave a simple catch to Rahul Tripathi at backward point that reduced KKR to 51/4 inside eight overs.
But Salt remained firm as he got handy support from debutant Ramandeep Singh who quickly ran off the blocks in an entertaining 54-run partnership.
Ramandeep slammed Cummins for a boundary and then pulled a short one for a six.He also hit Markande and Jansen and Shahbaz Ahmed for three more sixes in his 17-ball 35 before being dismissed by Cummins.
The partnership set the tone for the final assault by Russell and Rinku. (PTI)

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