That is it then from this game and also from another Manic Monday in the Indian T20 League. The action continues on Tuesday, the 9th of May with a big clash between Mumbai and Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium. That clash will begin at 7.30 pm IST (2 pm GMT). But, as usual, our build-up will begin a lot sooner, so, do join us then. Cheers!
Andre Russell is the PLAYER OF THE MATCH for his brilliant game-changing knock of 42 runs off 23 balls. He starts by saying yes he was waiting for the pace bowlers to show up. Adds that it was only going to be pressure on the bowlers, and they just backed themselves. Informs that he flicked one surprisingly in the stands. Mentions the consecutive sixes helped them to swing the momentum on their side. Adds that when you have Rinku Singh at the other end, he does not worry at all. He is very confident in Rinku Singh and is very happy with it. Informs that he gets goosebumps seeing what Singh does and is glad that he has some support down the order. States that he is the funniest guy in the group, so there can never be a dull moment around him.
Nitish Rana, the captain of Kolkata says that when he was batting, the plan was to hold one end. Adds that Venkatesh Iyer was struggling a bit with his injury and they had a chat about trying to take a big over from here or there. Goes on to applaud Andre Russell for his knock and mentions that it has been 10 matches or so and he kept telling Russell that he will get them a big win and that's what happened in this game. Says that he was a bit unhappy toward the end during the bowling as they conceded 15-20 extra runs. On Rinku Singh, he says that he always tells him to keep doing what he does and mentions that the crowd chanting his name is one of the best accolades Rinku can earn and to hear his name being chanted by the crowd alongside Andre Russell is a big deal.
The Presentation ceremony...
Rinku Singh, the man who hit the winning runs for Kolkata is down for a quick chat. Singh says that after winning a match like this one, more and more people get to know about him. Informs that he did not think at all about the last ball. On the run-out, he adds that he only thought that changing the strike will just make the game tight, but they were late to react. Mentions that he is getting used to these high-pressure situations as he comes out to bat between numbers 5-7, so he keeps practicing for the same.
The Punjab skipper, Shikhar Dhawan starts by saying he is not feeling great as they lost the match. Mentions that it wasn't an easy track to bat on, but in the end the opposition played really well. He then praises Arshdeep Singh for his effort in the final over. Tells that he feels they are missing an offspinner in the side. Adds that when a left-hander comes out to bat, they are operating with a leg-spinner from one end, while a left-arm spinner from the other one, and that's where they end up leaking a bit of runs.
Earlier in the game, Shikhar Dhawan won the toss and opted to bat first on a wicket that looked a bit dry and a bit slow as well. Punjab started off well with the bat but yet again, Prabhsimran Singh simply couldn't stay on the crease for long and Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who came back in the side after a long absence couldn't even open his mark. Dhawan notched up yet another half-century and valuable contributions throughout the middle order, especially from Shahrukh Khan ensured that they got to a challenging total of 179 runs. For Kolkata, Varun Chakaravarthy continued his stellar form with the ball and picked up three wickets as well with all the other spinners bowling economical spells. The pacers though were put to the sword but Harshit Rana did manage to pick up a couple of early wickets. Coming to the chase, it was a tight contest with Punjab keeping their noses in front but with just two overs left, Andre Russell decided to shift gears and almost sealed the game for Kolkata. It was a valiant effort from Arshdeep Singh in the final over but it just wasn't enough.
Punjab will be deflated with that loss and it is a big blow to their chances of making it through to the playoffs now. They didn't have an ideal start with the ball but Nathan Ellis came on and got the wicket that allowed them to get back in the game and dictate the middle overs. Ellis and Rahul Chahar bowled brilliantly through the middle phase and got wickets as well. Harpreet Brar bowled just the one over and got a wicket as well but with a lot of left-handers in the opposition, he wasn't brought back on. The two frontline pacers - Arshdeep Singh and Sam Curran had another poor outing with the latter playing a big role in the loss. Arshdeep though almost managed to defend 5 runs in the final over but missed his mark on the very final delivery and Punjab paid the ultimate price.
Kolkata left it a bit too late and needed a big lift toward the end from Andre Russell and Rinku Singh to get them over the line. They got off to a solid start with the bat as Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Jason Roy came out with intent and the latter just blew away the opposition bowlers. Roy looked good but got out and then it was a steady stand of 51 runs between skipper Nitish Rana and Venkatesh Iyer that kept Kolkata in the game. Iyer, hampered a bit by his injury just couldn't keep going and got out and then Rana too got to fifty and walked back to the pavilion. With the required rate rising and just two overs left, Andre Russell took Sam Curran to the cleaners and struck three sixes to put Kolkata in the driver's seat. It got nervy at the end as Kolkata needed 2 runs off the final ball but Rinku Singh remained cool and got the boundary.
Absolute heartbreak for Punjab as it is that man - Rinku Singh yet again who finishes things off and gets Kolkata over the line. An Andre Russell special has blown away Punjab and has given new life to Kolkata's challenge for a playoff spot. Dre Russ was certainly due for a special knock and boy, didn't he get it at a vital time for his side.
In over# 20
Arshdeep Singh 39/0(4)
FOUR! HERE ARE THE WINNING RUNS! Rinku Singh, you beauty! It is a full toss, down the leg side. Rinku Singh picks it up nice and early, and whips it down to fine leg. One bounce and into the ropes. The party has started in Kolkata. The hosts win the game by 5 wickets.
Shardul Thakur is the new man in but he will be at the non-striker's end.
OUT! RUN OUT! OH NO! What has happened here. It is a slower bouncer, outside off. Andre Russell slashes hard at it but misses it completely. The ball goes straight to the keep but Rinku Singh still calls for a single. Andre Russell is late to react and Arshdeep Singh collects the ball and takes the bails off. The replays confirm that Andre Russell is short of the crease.
Is that a run-out? What drama in the middle! The keeper delays the throw but finally throws it to the bowler. Andre Russell tries to scamper through and puts in the dive but Arshdeep Singh gets the direct hit in at the bowler's end. It is sent upstairs and the replays show that Russell is short of his crease. OUT is the decision on the big screen.
It is very full, wide of off. Andre Russell has big enough hands to reach the ball, he lofts it over extra cover. The man in the deep comes across and keeps it down to two runs.
Sam Curran at the death (16-20) since April 22
6 overs, 80 runs, 2 wickets, E.R. 13.3
Rinku Singh now rotates the strike with a single. Arshdeep Singh with three great deliveries so far. Arshdeep Singh follows the batter outside leg. It is a full toss, but Rinku Singh could not punish it.
A single now! It is a low full toss, outside off. Andre Russell gets it through the gap at backward point for one.