David Warner smashed 85 for Sunrisers Hyderabad in a timely reminder of his quality ahead of his worldwide ban ending, yet that effort came in a losing cause as Andre Russell and Shubman Gill guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a six-wicket Indian Premier League win.
"I was a but nervous in the dressing room and kept drinking pickle juice", Warner said during the mid-innings break.
While Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead Sunrisers pace department, Afghanistan's Rashid Khan will be in charge of the spin attack.
His new opening partner Jonny Bairstow complemented well by giving Warner the maximum strike as the pair raced to the 100-mark in 10.5 overs in their 118-run opening partnership.
However, the two-year absence from IPL and the one-year absence from global cricket did not make much of a difference as Warner came up with a sublime knock.
Warner's worldwide ban ends later this month. 'It is good to get out there and contribute.
The 32-year-old has now scored 37 IPL half-centuries, more than anyone else in the competition's history, despite missing last year's tournament following the fallout from his worldwide ban.
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Even as his global ban will end on March 28, the left-handed opener is eligible to play in the league and would be hoping to get into his zone to stake a claim in Australia's World Cup squad.
"We have got quite a few days before our next home game".
In came the big-hitting Andre Russell with KKR still needing 87 off 44 as the brilliant Rana brought up his sixth IPL 50 by picking a single of Sandeep in the 13th over. With home support backing them, KKR will look towards the likes of Chris Lynn, young Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik to pile on the runs for them.
KKR tried to check the run flow in the last four overs but Shankar played some delightful strokes to put Sunrisers in a commanding position.
'Russell, the way he played, changed the game.
KKR needed 53 in the last three overs and they won with two balls to spare thanks to the West Indian Russell. This win was important for us especially at the start, he said.