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IANS

Umesh Yadav claimed 4/23 and Andre Russell blasted an unbeaten 70 to help Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Punjab Kings by six wickets with 33 deliveries to spare in their IPL 2022 match at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.

Yadav set up the Knight Riders for victory with his four for 23 which was instrumental in Punjab Kings being dismissed for a paltry 137 on being asked to bat first. Bhanuka Rajapaksa blasted 31 off nine deliveries but once he got out, PBKS collapsed like nine pins.

Chasing 138, the Knight Riders were in deep trouble at 51/4 with Ajinkya Rahane (12), Venkatesh Iyer (3), skipper Shreyas Iyer (26) and Nitesh Rana (0) were back in the dugout. Russell came to their rescue, hitting sixes at will as he and Sam Billings guided them through to victory.

The bowlers held sway as KKR batters were all at sea. They reached 42/2 in five overs and their 50 came only in 5.5 overs. Russell blasted their first six in the 10th over as KKR crawled to 73/4 at the midway stage.

It was a brilliant display of power-hitting by Russell as the West Indies batter dealt mostly in sixes. He blasted eight sixes and two across in a display of clean hitting to remain unbeaten on 70 runs. He and Billings (24 not out) raised 90 runs for the unfinished fifth-wicket partnership to guide KKR to 141/4 in 14.3 overs.

Earlier, Umesh Yadav claimed a wicket in the first over for the third successive match this season to give KKR a superb start.

Umesh Yadav, who last played a T20I match for India in February 2019, served notice of his abilities ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year as he came up with another brilliant bowling performance.

Having claimed a wicket in his first over in the matches against Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Yadav continued his success by sending back Punjab skipper Mayank Agarwal on the last ball of his first over. This was his 50th wicket in the powerplay in the IPL.

Punjab never recovered from the early blow and though Bhanuka Rajapaksa blasted a 9-ball 31 and Kagiso Rabada made a late charge with a 16-ball 25, they could only manage 137 which in the end proved insufficient.

PBKS lost skipper Mayank Agarwal on the last ball of the first over as Umesh Yadav made one nip back after pitching on the off-stump.

Shikhar Dhawan struck a six and a four during his 16 but Bhanuka Rajapaksa went on a rampage, hitting Tim Southee for a four off the last ball of his first over and giving the same treatment to Umesh Yadav in the next over.

The Sri Lankan batter launched into Shivam Mavi, who was brought in place of Sheldon Jackson, hitting him for a four and followed by three sixes of successive balls -- the first over mid-on, the next over long-on and the third a slog-sweep over square leg boundary.

But Mavi had the last laugh as forced Rajapaksa to spoon a simple catch with a delivery pitched on the back of the length that cramped the batter for space. Southee completed a simple catch at mid-off to send the batter back.

The rest of the batters barring Rabada did not contribute much as Punjab failed to last 20 overs.

Brief scores: Punjab Kings 137 all out in 18.2 overs (Bhanuka Rajapaksa 31, Kagiso Rabada 25; Umesh Yadav 4/23, Tim Southee 2/26) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 141/4 in 14.3 overs (Andre Russell 70 not out, Sam Billings 24 not out, Shreyas Iyer 26; Rahul Chahar 2/13) by six wickets.

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