Sun | Jun 16, 2024

‘This means so much to me’

Emotional Russell sparks KKR title win

Published:Monday | May 27, 2024 | 12:11 AM
Kolkata Knight Riders and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell breaks into a dance after taking one of his three wickets on the way to helping his team beat the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, India, yesterday.
Kolkata Knight Riders and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell breaks into a dance after taking one of his three wickets on the way to helping his team beat the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, India, yesterday.

CHENNAI, India (CMC):

ICC MEN’S Twenty20 World Cup-bound West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell was emotional after he warmed up for the global showpiece next week with a crucial spell that set the foundation for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by eight wickets and win their third Indian Premier League title yesterday.

The 36-year-old Jamaican all-rounder grabbed three for 19 from 2.3 overs to lead the demolition of the SRH batting.

After deciding to bat, SRH were bowled out for 113 in 18.3 overs in the final at the Chidambaram Stadium.

“I do not have the words to explain how I feel right now,” Russell said, while holding back tears of joy.

“It means so much to me. With all the fans that have been supporting us right throughout from the start of the season, and we, the players, go out game after game and make sure we get the job done.

“For many of us, it’s the first time we are celebrating an [IPL] title victory, and I am happy that all of us remained very disciplined and wanted the same goal.

“This franchise has done so much for me, even helping me with my fitness and everything I have gone through in recent times, and it is a big gift from all of us to them, so I am happy.”

World Cup-bound Australia left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc started the rout of SRH for the lowest total in an IPL final and ended with two for 14 from three overs to earn the Player-of-the-Match award, while fellow pacer Harshit Rana took two for 24 from his allotted four overs to help complete the demolition.

A miserly spell of one for 16 from four overs from retired West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine also heaped further pressure on the SRH batting, which was led by their captain, Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins with 24, batting at nine. South Africa T20 World Cup captain,Aiden Markram got 20.

Though Narine, opening the batting again for KKR, made only six and fell in the second over, the result was never in doubt after Venkatesh Iyer, not out on 52, and World Cup-bound Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Rahmanullah Gurbz, with 39, shared 91 for the second wicket.

KKR needed only 12 when Gurbaz was lbw to Shahbaz Ahmed, moving too far inside the line to essay a sweep in the ninth over, and Iyer ushered them over the finish line with 57 balls remaining to clinch the biggest win in an IPL based on that margin of victory.

“This means so much to me,” Russell added.

“All the bowlers did their job. I think we kept it as simple as possible. In the first couple of overs, we realised [the pitch] was on the slower side, and we used our cutters well, but we did not overuse them.

“We mixed it up, and that is what threw the [SRH] batsmen off, and though we delivered a couple of bad balls here and there, I was very happy to chase 114 any day.”

KKR also won the IPL title in 2012 and 2014.