Tuesday 24 November, 2020

Andre Russell dropped as sensational Siraj sets up Kolkata hammering

Andre Russell.

Andre Russell.

Andre Russell was dropped by Kolkata Knight Rider and the team suffered an embarrassing eight-wicket defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday.

The Jamaica and West Indies all-rounder has had a largely below-par season so far.

Russell who lit up the IPL last year with his explosive performances has failed to replicate the same form this year. He has scored a mere 92 runs so far this year. Although he has shown glimpses of his brutal self, he has not been able to string together a single good performance.

Russell was also seen limping following an injury in Kolkata's match against Sunrisers Hyderabad

On Wednesday at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, fast bowler Mohammed Siraj rolled over Kolkata's top order with superb figures of three for eight as Royal Challengers Bangalore recorded a resounding victory.

Siraj’s impressive swing bowling saw Kolkata’s 20-over innings meakly folding at 84 for eight. Only captain Eoin Morgan showed some resistance with a top-score of 30.

Kolkata's batting performance was only slightly better than their lowest-ever IPL score of 67 when they were bowled out by Mumbai Indians in 15.2 overs in 2008.

Bangalore eased to 85 for two with more than six overs to spare despite losing both openers -- Aaron Finch (25) and Devdutt Padikkal (16) -- in the seventh over.

“It was a good toss to lose because we would have batted first,” Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli said. “Last year Siraj had a tough year and a lot of people went hard at him. This year he has worked hard and was bowling well in the nets. He has seen the results now, but we want him to keep following the process.”

Delhi Capitals and Bangalore occupy the top two slots with 14 points each after winning seven of their 10 games. Kolkata are fourth with 10 points after losing their fifth game on Wednesday.

Gurkeerat Singh and Kohli (18) remained unbeaten on 21 and 18 runs respectively as Lockie Ferguson (1-17) delayed the outcome of the game by bowling his full quota of four overs and having Finch caught behind.

“I think it started with batting. Being four or five down as early as we were is disappointing,” Morgan said, adding that he should have bowled first instead of opting to bat after winning the toss.

“We have been consistent with our selections of the top three (batsmen), we believe they are the ones to take us forward. They have shown potential, so it was important to back the Indian batsmen.”

Siraj became the first bowler in IPL history to bowl two maiden overs in a single game and at one stage his figures read 2-2-0-3 before he conceded eight runs in his next two overs.

Kolkata’s frontline batsmen had no answer for Siraj’s swing with the new ball as Rahul Tripathi was caught behind off the right-arm fast bowler’s third delivery and Nitish Rana followed off the next ball when his stumps were rattled off a full swinging delivery.

Another seamer, Navdeep Saini, made it three for three when Shubman Gill played a rash pull shot and was caught at deep midwicket before Siraj made it four for 14 in only the fourth over of Kolkata's innings by having Tom Banton caught behind.

The two spinners -- Yuzvendra Chahal (2-15) and Washington (1-14) -- continued to strangle Kolkata’s middle-order, which included the experienced Morgan and Dinesh Karthik struggling to rotate the strike.

Chahal successfully won a leg before wicket referral against Karthik and Morgan holed out in the deep while attempting an ambitious shot against Sundar in the 16th over.

Ferguson (19 off 16 balls) was the only batsman to score better than run-a-ball in the end before Kolkata notched this season’s lowest total.

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