Warner's timely knock overshadowed by Russell's fireworks in Knight Riders win
David Warner smashed 85 for Sunrisers Hyderabad in a timely reminder of his quality ahead of his international 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.
Opening batsman Warner is free to be selected by Australia again from next week, when his one-year suspension following the ball-tampering scandal is up, and he hit three sixes and nine fours in a fine 53-run ball knock.
His 118-run opening partnership with IPL debutant Jonny Bairstow (39) and Vijay Shankar's unbeaten 40 lifted the Sunrisers to 181-3, a total that Kolkata appeared unable to match when Russell and Gill came together with 27 balls remaining.
However, thanks largely to Russell's devastating hitting in his unbeaten 49 not out from just 19 balls, the Knight Riders reached their target with two balls to spare as Gill (18 not out) struck his second maximum off Shakib Al Hasan to seal it.
Though England international Bairstow has played far more cricket in recent weeks, it was Warner who displayed greater fluency for the Sunrisers, moving to his 50 by jumping off the ground to cut Russell for six.
Bairstow failed to connect with Piyush Chawla's long hop when bowled and Warner was eventually removed by a terrific diving catch at cover from Robin Uthappa off the bowling off Russell, who also accounted for Yusuf Pathan, though Shankar's contribution gave the Sunrisers' bowlers a good score to defend.
The cheap dismissal of Chris Lynn in the second over left the Knight Riders further up against it - and they were still well short of where the Sunrisers were at the same stage when Uthappa (35) was bowled by a brilliant Siddarth Kaul yorker in the 12th over.
Dinesh Karthik was dismissed in the next over and the Knight Riders looked like being left with too much to do when Nitish Rana (68) was out lbw to Rashid Khan following a delay due to floodlight failure, yet Russell and Gill had other ideas.
WARNER MAKES UP FOR LOST TIME
Under intense scrutiny given the timing of his IPL return, Warner showed no signs of either pressure or rust as he made the highest score of the match.
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 international ban.
FLOODLIGHTS OUT...BUT RUSSELL PROVIDES THE SPARK
When Rana went lbw in the 16th over from the first ball after a delay of over 10 minutes caused by the lights in one of the towers going off, it appeared the Knight Riders were down and out too.
They did not need to worry, though, as Russell lit up Eden Gardens with a display of brutal hitting, scoring 17 of the 18 runs that came from Kaul's final over and all 21 off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's last set of six, which allowed Gill to finish the job.