Warner Returns with a Bang, Takes SRH to 181/3

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s David Warner during their practice session at Eden Garden in Kolkata

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s David Warner during their practice session at Eden Garden in Kolkata

The hard-hitting opener scored freely and quickly against a Kolkata Knight Riders attack featuring star spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine.

Last season, under the new leadership of seasoned campaigner Dinesh Karthik, KKR incidentally lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by 14 runs in Qualifier-2.

Russell was well supported by young Shubman Gill, who hit 18 not out off 10 with two sixes.

Robin Uthappa and Rana then stitched together 80-run stand off 58 deliveries for the second wicket to keep KKR's chances alive before Uthappa, dropped on 20 by Yusuf Pathan, departed with his off-stump flattened by Siddharth Kaul.

David Warner was a bundle of nerves upon his Indian Premier League return but it didn't show in Kolkata, where the suspended superstar blasted 85 to make an emphatic World Cup statement.

David Warner - announced his arrival on a day when he was slapped with a ban just a year ago as he peeled off 85 off 53 to take Sunrisers to that total on a pitch which was two-paced and was hard to play strokes on. The BCCI had then imposed its own sanctions and barred Warner along with Steve Smith from playing in the league a year ago.

The 30-year-old stalwart of T20 cricket was ecstatic with the way the KKR started their campaign in IPL 2019 against tough opposition. Russell played a great knock.

While the opening game remained a one-sided affair, we have a significant competitive game to look forward to later today. But, Sunrisers will take heart from the fact that they have won the last two encounters at the Eden Gardens. Such was the Warner assault that four of the regular KKR bowlers including the frontline spin duo of Sunil Narine (0/29 in three overs) and Kuldeep (0/18 in 2 overs) did not even bowl their full quota of four overs.

"Russell, the way he played, changed the game. We had a good night out and I am excited the way we have started the season", the Jamaican said when talking about his ability to hit the big shots at will.

Rana, meanwhile, said he would fail to describe in words how brilliant Russell was.

Sunrisers have traded in Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhishek Sharma for Shikhar Dhawan, but the it remains to be seen how they overcome the Indian opener's departure.

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