IPL 2023, KKR vs PBKS | Who said what ft. Andre Russell, Rinku Singh

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Kolkata Knight Riders spiced up the points table of IPL 2023 on Monday securing their fifth win of the tournament against Punjab Kings. Andre Russell revealed that he waited for bowlers to miss their lengths as the wicket was gripping while Rinku Singh stated that he played on the merit of the ball.

Kolkata Knight Riders jumped up on the points table to the fifth spot by beating Punjab Kings by six wickets. PBKS won the toss and opted to bat first but the KKR spinners didn’t allow them to get away with some easy pickings. The trio of Varun Chakaravarthy, Suyash Sharma, and Sunil Narine conceded less than 30 runs each from their allotted quota while Chakaravarthy was the pick of the bowlers with three scalps to his name. Shikhar Dhawan scored 57 runs from 47 balls but fireworks from the duo of Shahrukh Khan and Harpreet Brar in the end helped PBKS set up a total of 179/7. 

Coming in to chase, Jason Roy scored 38 runs from 24 balls after the initial struggle at the top of the innings. Nitish Rana smashed 51 runs from 38 balls while Andre Russell also brought his A game into the fold piling up 42 runs from 23 balls. Rinku Singh finished the game for KKR once again in the tournament and they won by six wickets as a result. 

Andre Russell remarked after the match that the wicket was gripping and so he relied on tactics of letting the bowlers miss their length. The West Indian power hitter also added that he was confident that Rinku will finish the game. 

We already thought about it, the ball was gripping so we just wanted to stick it out. They miss their lengths and we could swing it around. Needing 30 off the final two, it was very gettable. I flicked one into the stands without really swinging at it. And that six over point put the icing on the cake. I wanted to finish the game off, but we have a finisher this year in Rinku. (On Rinku) He had told me what if the ball beats you, should we go for the run? I said for sure, I have faith in him to finish it last ball. I get goosebumps seeing him doing what he's been doing.

Andre Russell

After scripting a sensational finish, Rinku stated that he was confident about his responsibility and tried to play to the merit of the ball. 

I didn't think about the last ball. Even when I hit those five sixes, I hadn't thought much. I was playing on the merit of the ball. I had the belief in me that I could finish the game. I have got used to it, sometimes I bat at 5, sometimes at 6, 7, I practice that way. There is no particular way I like to celebrate.

Rinku Singh

Captain Nitish praised both Russell and Rinku for their excellent batting but also admitted that the bowler conceded too many runs in the death overs. 

When I was batting, I wanted to hold one end. Venky had a problem with his ankle so we were trying to get one big over here and there. 10 matches have gone, we were all waiting for that one Russell innings to come. He was one innings away, I kept backing him saying you have done a lot, and you will 100% win us a game. This pitch was a feel of home advantage as well. Our bowlers bowled badly at the death, I was angry that we conceded that many because this was a 160-165 run wicket. (On Rinku) I just keep telling him, believe in yourself because what you have achieved is something not many people ever will. When he was batting, the whole crowd was chanting 'Rinku, Rinku'. That is what he has earned this year.

Nitish Rana

PBKS skipper Shikhar Dhawan expressed his disappointment after the defeat and also explained his analysis that the team is lacking an off-spinner and as a result, the team is conceding some extra runs against the left-handers. 

Feels bad, of course not feeling great, we lost the match. Not an easy track to bat on, felt that we had a good total. In the end, they played well. It was a great effort from Arshdeep, the way he has bounced back from the last game. All credit to him that he took the game to the last ball. I feel we don’t have a good off-spinner, that is where we are leaking a bit of runs when left-handers come in. This wicket was offering turn as well, that is where we took the hit.

Shikhar Dhawan

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