Nitish Rana’s magnificent 63 off 37 balls and Robin Uthappa’s brilliant 51 had put Kolkata Knight Riders on course for a big total against Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. When Rana was sent back by Varun Chakravarthy, Kings XI Punjab harboured thoughts of restricting Kolkata Knight Riders to under 200. Mohammed Shami bowled the 17th over and on the final ball, he bowled the dangerous Andre Russell with a yorker but it was declared a no-ball. The reason being there were just three fielders in the circle when there had to be four. Russell proceeded to punish Kings XI Punjab by hammering Andrew Tye for two sixes and two fours in the 18th over. Things went bad in the 19th over when Shami was hit for three sixes and a four by Russell and his 17-ball 48 helped Kolkata Knight Riders end on 218/4. The no-ball proved to be costly as Kings XI Punjab lost by 28 runs.
Speaking about the incident, Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin took the blame on himself for the loss. “We weren't really focused on the small things and they do cost you big in this format. Yes, we definitely have to look at it next game. I'll take the blame (for the no-ball incident). I should have had a look at it. At that stage, with the slog on, you hope the fielders are switched on but obviously he (Varun Chakravarthy or Hardus Viljoen) was a debutant,” Ashwin said.
Russell went on to thank the fielder and said the runs at the end proved to be vital. “Thanks to that guy who was outside the ring. It's the new guy, forgot his name. Thank you. When I get bowled, I thought I had missed out but I saw the guys in dug out signalling no-ball and I was like, please God, let it be a no-ball. I did not let it go and capitalised on it. Keep getting cars and these awards. I'll have to make a bigger garage,” said Russell who was named Man of the Match for the second consecutive game after his similar exploits against Sunrisers Hyderabad gave them a win in the final over.
Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Delhi Capitals at the Kotla while Kings XI Punjab will take on Mumbai Indians in Mohali on March 30.