Russell stars as KKR beat Sunrisers to stay in IPL play-off hunt

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Andre Russell made a big impact with bat and ball as Kolkata Knight Riders stayed in the hunt for an Indian Premier League play-off place with a 54-run defeat of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

KKR needed a win at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday to keep themselves in contention for a top-four finish and they delivered under pressure.

Russell blasted 49 off 28 balls to get the Knight Riders up to 177-6 in Pune, where hostile paceman Umran Malik gave another exhibition of his quality by taking 3-33.

Sunrisers fell well short at 123-8 in their run chase as their play-off hopes suffered a blow, with this their fifth consecutive defeat.

Malik halted KKR's momentum by dismissing Nitish Rana (26) and Ajinkya Rahane (28) in the same over, reducing them to 72-3 after eight overs.

He also had Shreyas Iyer caught by Rahul Tripathi at deep midwicket, but Sam Billings got Kolkata ticking with 34 and unbeaten Russell struck four sixes - three of which came in the final over from Washington Sundar - in a much-need display of powerful striking.

All-rounder Russell (3-22) then cleaned an out-of-sorts Kane Williamson up for only nine and Tim Southee (2-23) took an excellent catch off his own bowling to send Tripathi on his way for the same score as his captain.

Abhishek Sharma made a brisk 43 and Aiden Markram 32, but Russell took another two wickets as Sunrisers' slump continued and they slipped to eighth spot with two games to play, while sixth-placed KKR face Lucknow Super Giants as they strive to sneak into the play-offs.

Malik back in business

Sunrisers quick Malik has been a revelation in this tournament and made his mark once again after failing to take a wicket in three matches following his five-wicket haul against Gujarat Titans.

The 22-year-old has claimed 18 scalps in the 2022 IPL at an average of 22 and there will surely be many more to come in such a promising career.

Russell keeps KKR in the mix

So many times over the years Russell has stepped up when his side have needed him.

He gave KKR a huge lift by taking Sundar apart in the last over of KKR's innings and then did the bulk of the damage with the ball, dismissing Williamson, Sundar and Marco Jansen.

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