Malik back among wickets before Russell takes KKR to 177 for 6

As far as Rahane is concerned, he has well past his IPL sell-by date and even three sixes couldn't hide the fact that he played a lot of dot balls and once he started cramping, it became even more difficult to rotate the strike.
Malik back among wickets before Russell takes KKR to 177 for 6
Umran Malik after taking a wicketTwitter - @IPL

PUNE: Umran Malik was back in his groove after a few forgettable outings as he ran through Kolkata Knight Riders top-order before Andre Russell's counter-attacking unbeaten 49 took his side to a fighting 177 for 6 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a must-win IPL game on Saturday.

It was Russell (49 not out off 28 balls) along with Sam Billings (34 off 29 balls), who added 63 runs for the sixth wicket to give the total a semblance of respectability after KKR were in trouble at 94 for 5.

KKR added 58 runs in the last five overs, mainly due to Russell as he hit three sixes off three full-tosses bowled by off-break bowler Washington Sundar (0/40 in 4 overs).

Malik (3/33 in 4 overs), who had gone for 120-odd runs in his last 10 overs (across 3 games) and that too wicketless, was back in his element as he bowled fast and straight to get rid of Nitish Rana (26 off 16 balls), Ajinkya Rahane (28 off 23 balls) and skipper Shreyas Iyer (15 off 9 balls) in his first two overs to peg back KKR.

He did get good support from T Natarajan (1/43), who nailed the block-hole deliveries with perfection, getting rid of Rinku Singh (5), who missed out on taking review although it would have counted for little.

Venkatesh Iyer's ''second season blues'' continued as he chopped one from Marco Jansen (1/30 in 4 overs) onto the stumps.

As far as Rahane is concerned, he has well past his IPL sell-by date and even three sixes couldn't hide the fact that he played a lot of dot balls and once he started cramping, it became even more difficult to rotate the strike.

Finally he was out when he slashed hard at a wide rising delivery and Shashank Singh at sweeper cover fence maintained perfect body balance in a side on position to latch on to the catch.

The KKR batting finally looked good when Russell and Billings took the attack back to the opposition camp with some big blows after initial period of struggle.

While the Jamaican had three fours and four sixes to his name, Billings, on his part, hit three fours and one maximum.

Towards the end of the innings, wily Bhuvneshwar bowled his change-ups to lessen Russell's scoring areas as he had an impressive 13 dot balls in his entire spell.

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