Andre Russell, the six-hitting machine, has set Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 on fire. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder has left the cricket world in awe with his power-hitting skills.
Russell, who had revealed a few days earlier that he does 300 push-ups whenever he is bored in the dressing room, was at it again as he smashed seven sixes to make light work of KKR’s chase of 206 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday.
Kolkata Knight Riders had needed 67 runs from 26 balls when Andre Russell walked into the crease. The visitors were losing a bit of momentum as captain Dinesh Karthik was struggling to get the big ones after Nitish Rana departed for a quickfire 37.
However, Russell tore into the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling attack, smashing three sixes in the 18th over and four more in the 19th over. Tim Southee conceded 29 runs in the penultimate over and KKR gunned down the total with five balls to spare after one of the most brutal onslaughts T20 cricket has ever witnessed.
Talking up his power-hitting abilities, Russell said he no longer believes any cricket ground across the globe is big enough for him. The KKR all-rounder revealed he had thought Australian grounds were too big but that he had surprised himself when he hit a few Down Under.
“A few grounds in Australia and then I surprised myself there by hitting a few into the stands. No ground is big enough for me I guess, I just trust my strength and trust my power. I have good bat speed. I trust that as well,” Russell said after his 13-ball 48 in KKR’s five-wicket win.
Russell added: “Hand-eye coordination is the key (for low full tosses) as they aren’t easy to hit. I try short arm jabs as extending the arms can put you in trouble. Can’t explain much, rather show that on the field.”
Royal Challengers Bangalare had posted 205 for 3 on the board after Virat Kohli’s 87 and AB de Villiers’ 63 earlier in the evening. However, KKR got off to a good start with Chris Lynn (43), Robin Uthappa and Rana (47) making handy contributions.
Russell then came out and took care of the asking rate with seven huge blows in Bengaluru. Russell has now taken his sixes tally in IPL 2019 to 22. He has just faced 77 balls and is striking a six every 3.5 deliveries.
Didn’t stop believing even as asking rate was high: Russell
Stressing he never believed the chase was out of KKR’s hands, Russell added: “I was confident when I went out to bat. DK was telling me to take a few balls to see what the wicket was doing. I was watching on TV from upstairs and kind of knew what the wicket was doing. I was thinking about playing this way or that way. It was just one mindset.
“When you need 68 off 20-odd balls, it’s not going to happen every day. We needed to make sure we put our bodies on the line. And I didn’t quit.”
“The nature of T20 is such that one over can change the momentum. That’s why I say I never give up. A part of me was saying that the runs needed were too much but anything is possible and eventually, we won with five balls spare.”
With the thrilling win, Kolkata Knight Riders climbed to the second spot with three wins from four matches. On the other hand, Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore slumped to their fifth straight defeat and are yet to open their account in IPL 2019.