Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Shreyas Iyer on Friday (1st April) praised all-rounder Andre Russell for his heroics against Punjab Kings (PBKS) in Match 8 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 in Mumbai.
KKR thumped PBKS by 6 wickets to register their second win of the IPL 15. Bowling first, after winning the toss, the Shreyas Iyer-led side on account of Umesh Yadav’s 4/23 bundled out the opposition for just 137 runs.
While chasing the target, KKR were struggling at 51/4. However, after that Russell put on a show of incredible hitting and sealed the match for his side. He remained unbeaten on 70 off 31 balls and his knock was studded with eight sixes and two boundaries.
Russell also stitched an unbeaten 90-run stand with Sam Billings, who scored 24 off 23 balls, and helped his side chase the target with 33 balls to spare.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Shreyas Iyer said ‘Russell muscle’ hitting the ball clearly brought relief to him.
"It was such a relief to see him hit so clearly. Simply outstanding hitting - it was Russell muscle, for serious,” Shreyas Iyer said.
Iyer talked about Umesh Yadav’s performance. He said that the right-arm pacer is putting in hard yards at practice and has the hunger to succeed and make team win.
"I was just having a chat with him. He said he's getting older but I told him he's getting fitter and stronger. He's been putting in the hard yards at practice, I see him in the gym every time I go. He's hungry and wants the team to win. He's been a great colleague to work with," he said.
Iyer revealed that they were stunned by PBKS’ approach after they lost Mayank Agarwal in the first over. He also talked about his plan against their hard-hitting batters.
Notably, after Punjab lost skipper Agarwal, Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a counter-attacking innings and scored 31 runs in just 9 balls.
"We were stunned - we didn't expect them to come so hard, especially losing a wicket in the first over. But when I saw them timing it so well, I thought I could as well.
"We got early wickets after the Powerplay so my mindset was if I get wickets as much as possible... my plan was to get the best bowlers when they had hard-hitters coming in," he said.
While talking about the spin-duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, Iyer said that they make his job easier by coming up with their own strategies and plans.
"They make my job very easy on the field. They come up with their own strategies and in team meetings, they already know their plans. They know what they're doing," he said.
Under Iyer, KKR have won two of their three matches in the IPL 2022 so far. They are currently placed at the top of the table and will next face Mumbai Indians on April 6 at MCA Stadium in Pune.