Andre Russell's pyrotechnics proved to be too little too late in the end as Gujarat Titans defended a small total to clinch a dramatic eight-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a thrilling IPL 2022 match at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
KKR's top and middle order batters failed miserably in the wake of a clinical bowling display from Gujarat, leaving Russell with a lot to do in the closing stages. The West Indies all-rounder, who earlier took four wickets in the final over, smashed a quickfire 48 from 25 balls to keep KKR's hopes alive but his dismissal in the final over ended their hopes.
Needing 18 from the final over, Russell kept KKR in the hunt as he hit compatriot Alzarri Joseph's first ball for a six. However, the bowler had the last laugh as Russell perished off the second ball, with Lockie Ferguson taking a superb catch under pressure on the fine leg fence to end KKR's hopes.
With six wins from seven games, Gujarat are top of the standings in IPL 2022, while KKR, who slumped to their fourth straight loss, are seventh with six points from eight games.
For Gujarat, Mohammed Shami, Rashid Khan and Yash Dayal took two wickets apiece, while Alzarri Joseph and Lockie Ferguson got one each.
Veteran India pacer Shami wreaked havoc in his first spell of two overs, sending back both the KKR openers Sam Billings (4) and Sunil Narine (5) early.
KKR's decision to promote Billings to open the innings backfired while Narine failed for the second time at the top of the order.
To make matters worse for KKR, Nitish Rana (2) edged a beautiful delivery from Lockie Ferguson to Wriddhiman Saha to continue his poor form in IPL 2022.
Earlier, Andre Russell (4/5) and Tim Southee (3/24) picked seven wickets between themselves as Kolkata Knight Riders restricted Gujarat Titans to 156/9. Hardik Pandya, who missed last match against Chennai Super Kings due to groin injury, marked his return to the playing eleven with a 49-ball 67, his third successive fifty in IPL 2022. But Gujarat completely lost their way in the final five overs, losing seven wickets for just 29 runs, allowing Kolkata to make a brilliant comeback.
Southee provided the first breakthrough for Kolkata on his first ball in the second over. The right-arm pacer sent a ball angled down leg-stump which Shubman Gill (7) nicked behind to wicketkeeper. Pandya promoted himself to three from his usual number four position and the decision began to pay off when he smacked Southee for back-to-back fours in the off-side. He got ample support from Wriddhiman Saha, who crunched Umesh Yadav for a six and four through the leg side.
Post power-play, Pandya continued to be the aggressor, ramping Shivam Mavi for a cheeky six over fine leg, followed by an extra cover drive for four and welcoming Varun Chakravarthy with a clean lofted six over long-off.
Pandya and Saha built an important stand of 75 off 56 balls for the second wicket, which was broken by Umesh in the eleventh over as Saha fell for run-a-ball 25, in an attempt to repeat the paddle scoop which got him a four on the previous ball. David Miller had luck on his side when Venkatesh Iyer took a catch at long-off but his foot brushed with the boundary rope, gifting the left-hander a lucky six off Sunil Narine. Narine was further taken apart for a four and six by Miller after Pandya reached his fifty in 36 balls.
Brief Scores: Gujarat Titans 156/9 in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 67, David Miller 27; Andre Russell 4/5, Tim Southee 3/24) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 148/8 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 48, Rinku Singh 35; Mohammed Shami 2/20, Rashid Khan 2/22).