Kings XI Punjab Skipper Ravichandran Ashwin took the blame of handing Andre Russell a fortunate reprieve that ended up costing them the game.
The big-hitting all-rounder was batting on three when Mohammed Shami knocked him over, but with only three fielders inside the circle, the umpire called it a no-ball. Russell went on to smash 48 runs off just 17 deliveries and played a key role in Kolkata Knight Riders' 28-run victory.
"Look I mean we weren't focused on small things. Small things cost you in this game. We need to be attentive to the small things for the next game. I take the blame on myself (talking about the no-ball). I should have had a look at him (Varun Chakravarthy or Hardus Viljoen)," said Ashwin at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"He, of course, was a debutant and would do better from here on. The way Varun Chakravarthy bowled in the 15th over to Uthappa and Rana was a big positive. Mayank batted well despite wickets going down. I thought about 200 was par for this track and that is where the smaller mistakes cost us."
Man of the Match - Russell, who smoked three fours and five maximums in his knock, couldn't believe his luck and thanked the fielder who didn't come in inside the circle.
"Thanks to that guy was outside the ring. It's the new guy, I forgot his name, but well done. Thank you. When I got bowled, I was like... Mmmm I missed out tonight. But then when I saw everyone in the dugout signaling no ball then I was like please God let this be a free-hit for front foot, but I realised it was the guy outside the circle and I just capitalized on that. You don't get these things everyday. You have to maximize on these opportunities," gushed Russell.
Talking about his batting approach, the Jamaican said: "You have to make sure you have a clear head. When I run out to bat. That little run I do, it just gets my body warm, gets the adrenaline rush. It's not something I do just because I want to, but it's something I do to get warm, get into a mood, swing my bat a few times. If the first ball is in the slot, I go at it. It's just certain logics I have been doing over the years and it's been working and I am happy."
The right-arm paceman then also picked up key wickets of Chris Gayle and Sarfaraz Khan and derailed Punjab's chase.
"Well done to the guys for playing good cricket. Gayle is like a brother to me, the bigger legend. To get him out early was great. The plan was to bowl tight to him and restrict him. I am happy that I could get the job done. We discussed and executed our plays for KL Rahul as well."
Meanwhile, Kolkata captain Dinesh Karthik praised all his members who helped them claim their second consecutive win.
"Obviously a good start to the tournament for us. The way Nitish played was beautiful. Got to give credit to Robbie for playing through and the start was very good as well. Obviously Russell's finish was great. It was clear that when Sunil was back from his injury, he had to bat at the top," he said.
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