Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings has been left in awe of West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell who smashed an unbeaten 70 off just 31 balls as the two time IPL champions defeated Punjab Kings by six wickets with 33 balls to spare on Friday night at the Wankhede Stadium.
The 30-year-old England cricketer termed Russell “the star” who could destroy any team when on song.
Chasing 138 after bowling out the Punjab Kings, the Punjab bowlers threatened to trip KKR in the chase, reducing them to 51/4 in the eighth over. With leg-spinner Rahul Chahar hitting the right lengths, KKR could only score 10 runs off 23 balls while losing two wickets — that of Nitish Rana and skipper Shreyas Iyer.
What followed was absolute mayhem. The West Indian all-rounder launched two sixes off left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar in the 10th over that yielded 17 runs. Russell then picked his Jamaican counterpart Odean Smith for special treatment, hitting him for three sixes and a boundary before Billings, too, struck a six down the ground in a 30-run over.
Russell smashed three more sixes to seal the chase in the 15th over.
“For me, it was just about holding the game there and supporting him (Russell),” Billings said after the match.
“He is the star and I wanted to let him play his game. It was about that clarity, letting him play his game. He can win a game, as we saw, in the space of five overs (7.3 overs). Baz (head coach Brendon McCullum) always backs each individual to do that and when you’ve got a world-class performer like that you see the destruction he can cause,” added Billings.
“He (Russell) has shown what a world-class performer he is. He is the best in the world (in power hitting) when he goes like that. He rocked up there nicely. I had the best seat in the house (non-striker’s end), what a performance by the big man. I was very lucky I stood there even though I feared for my life a couple of times,” added Billings.
PM Narendra Modi Lays Foundation Stone For Rs.451 Crore International Cricket Stadium In Varanasi
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the new International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi on September 23rd (Saturday). The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri, Dilip Vengsarkar, and Sunil Gavaskar were also present for the ceremony. The Prime Minister also went on to present an Indian team jersey to Tendulkar.
The state government, led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has remitted a whopping ₹121 crore for the purpose of land acquisition, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shall put in ₹330 crore from their side for the iconic stadium’s construction. Some of the notable features that the stadium would have are trishul-shaped floodlights, drum-shaped media center, and crescent moon-shaped roof.
Meanwhile, the stone-laying ceremony witnessed some of the most top figures from the BCCI, including President Roger Binny, Vice-President Rajiv Shukla, and Secretary Jay Shah. This will also be the third international stadium in Uttar Pradesh, with Kanpur and Lucknow already having one.
“The sportspersons here will benefit from the construction of an international stadium” – Narendra Modi
Speaking at the ceremony, Modi stated that sports are no longer prohibited by the elders, unlike before, as it acts as an incentive in several ways. He said, as quoted by The Indian Express:
“This stadium in the city of ‘Mahadev’ will be dedicated to ‘Mahadev’ himself. The sportspersons here will benefit from the construction of an international stadium in Kashi. There was a time when parents used to scold their children for playing sports, but that is no longer true. When sports infrastructure is built in an area, it acts as an incentive not just for young sporting talent but also spurs the local economy.”
The stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 30000 and the construction of the same is likely to finish by December 2025.
Legends Including Sachin Tendulkar And Ravi Shastri Leave For Varanasi For Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony For New International Stadium In UP
Legendary Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, and Dilip Vengsarkar on Saturday headed for Varanasi for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the international cricket stadium in Uttar Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the International Cricket Stadium in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi on Saturday afternoon.
The Uttar Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has spent Rs 121 crores on land acquisition for the construction of the International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi. Moreover, the BCCI will spend Rs 330 crores on the stadium’s construction.
The former India head coach Shashti on Saturday took to social media ‘X’, formerly known as Twitter, and wrote in a post, “Varanasi bound. Great to be amongst Greats and colleagues for Mumbai and India. Just a few international runs and wickets there. Pic of a lifetime. Gr8 memories.”
The thematic architecture of this stadium draws inspiration from Lord Shiva, with designs developed for crescent-shaped roof covers, trident-shaped floodlights, ghat steps-based seating, and Bilvipatra-shaped metallic sheets on the facade. The stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 spectators.
Veteran players like Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Shastri, Vengsarkar will be present at the foundation stone laying ceremony.
Uttar Pradesh to have its 3rd international stadium:
The event will also have the presence of key figures from the BCCI, including President Roger Binny, Vice President Rajiv Shukla, and Secretary Jay Shah, the release stated. Furthermore, many veteran players are expected to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony. After Kanpur and Lucknow, this will be Uttar Pradesh’s third international cricket stadium.
IND vs AUS: ‘Always Well Looked After And Well Protected’ As David Warner Feeling ‘Great’ To Be Back In India
The Australian cricket team has landed in India ahead of what will be their final dress rehearsal for the 2023 World Cup. Veteran Australian opener David Warner took to his official Instagram handle and expressed their gratefulness at landing in India. He also thanked GMR Aerocity for making their transit easy.
Warner will be one of the few players most in focus ahead of the ODI series, especially due to his inconsistency in the preceding rubber against South Africa. The left-hander made only two fifty-plus scores in five innings and threw away starts consistently.
The five-time World Champions will be keen to get back in the groove after missing an opportunity to win the series in South Africa despite a 2-0 lead. The middle-order batters, including Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis will be under pressure for consistently failing against the Proteas. With Steve Smith back in the side and Australia set to field a full-strength attack, they should be in a good stead.
The 36-year-old took to his Instagram handle and wrote:
“Always great to be welcomed back to india. We are always well looked after and well protected. Thanks so much. @gmraerocity always makes our transits so easy.”
Australia won the three-game ODI series in India earlier this year:
Pat Cummins and co. should draw confidence from their success against the Men in Blue in their backyard earlier this year under the captaincy of Steve Smith. Nevertheless, India are an in-form team, having won the Asia Cup 2023.
However, the men’s team’s chief selector Chief selector Ajit Agarkar has announced resting Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for the first two ODIs. KL Rahul will captain India in Mohali and Indore,
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