It was a third golden duck in the IPL for Andre Russell, who was completely outfoxed by Ravi Ashwin’s delivery that spun Rajasthan Royals back into the game against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday. While Yuzvendra Chahal made headlines for his match-winning fifer that included a hat-trick in the 17th over, the game began to sway away from Kolkata when Ashwin castled Russell with a ‘carrom’ ball.
The seasoned India tweaker was on a victory lap, serving a never-seen-before celebration for the Brabourne crowd. Ashwin’s delivery straightened instead of getting any turn and crashed straight into the timber to send Russell back on nought. Ashwin was on a celebratory run as ‘Dre Russ’ made his way back to the dugout without troubling the scorers.
Ashwin returned with figures of 1/38 in his four overs before Chahal scythed through the batting order. The leggie, who was previously a part of Royal Challengers Bangalore, plucked four wickets in a single over to turn the game on its head.
It all happened in the 17th over when Chahal removed Venkatesh Iyer off his first delivery. He then plucked the wickets of Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Mavi and Pat Cummins off the fourth, fifth and sixth balls to become the fifth Royals player to take a hat-trick. Overall, Chahal, who finished on 5/40 in four, registered the 21st hat-trick in IPL history.
The Royals won a humdinger of a contest on the back of Chahal’s fifer and Jos Buttler, who notched up his second century of the ongoing 10-team competition. The Englishman’s 61-ball 103 had nine fours and five sixes as Rajasthan reached 217 for five in 20 overs. In response, Kolkata were bundled out for 210 against Chahal’s spin web.
While Chahal and Buttler grabbed the limelight for their impressive display, Royals skipper Sanju Samson was effusive in his praise for Ashwin. “It was very tense and interesting. It was important to be calm and believe in ourselves. Halfway, I thought it was chaseable. They played very well and did not give chances. But the wickets helped. Chahal and Buttler’s performances were there for the world to see. Ashwin’s ball stood out as well,” said the Royals leader.
Ashwin, who made his return to the Indian limited-overs setup with last year’s T20 World Cup, was completely out of form for the Royals. The senior tweaker had picked just one wicket from five games while conceding 143 runs before the game against Kolkata.
With the seven-run win over Kolkata, Rajasthan have moved to the second spot in the points table with four wins in six games.