Andre Russell deserves a lot of credit, says Rajasthan Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane
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Andre Russell deserves a lot of credit, says Rajasthan Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane

Andre Russell’s 25 ball 49 made all the difference in the Indian Premier League (IPL) eliminator between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.

cricket Updated: May 24, 2018 08:53 IST
Dhiman sarkar
Dhiman sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Andre Russell,IPL eliminator,Kolkata Knight Riders
Andre Russell has hit 31 sixes for Kolkata Knight Riders so far in IPL 2018.(AFP)

In a tale of two captains leading from the front, Dinesh Karthik bested Ajinkya Rahane because he had Andre Russell in his corner. In the eliminator with more twists and turns that you would find in an old north Kolkata neighbourhood, the man with a streaked Mohawk made the difference here on Wednesday night. (HIGHLIGHTS)

Russell’s capable of shock and awe; his batting, at times, an amalgamation of comic superheroes Iron Man and Thor. He showed that in Chennai this term with a 36-ball 88, followed that up with a 12-ball 41 against Delhi Daredevils during which he hit six sixes off Mohammed Shami, made 44 in the return fixture that was sedate by his standards because it came in 30 balls. Then, there was a 14-ball 31 in Indore. (SCORECARD)

On Wednesday, Russell made an unbeaten 49 off 25 balls with three fours and five sixes. KKR scored 54 runs in the last five overs with Russell getting 41. In a 29-run stand for the seventh wicket between 17.1 and 19.4 overs, Javon Scantlebury-Searles’ contribution was two.

With Karthik, Russell took 19 runs in the 17th over bowled by Jaydev Unadkat. It included a six swung over long-on to a ball going away on the off-side. Karthik fell in the next over but Russell pulled the next ball for a six and ended the over with another over-boundary, an edge that soared above fine-leg. The shot that stood out though was the six off Jofra Archer in the 19th over. Realising Archer had bowled a slower one, Russell delayed the forehand drive and though the ball caught the toe-end of his bat, it sailed into the stands.

READ | Knew if we could get a wicket we would be in with a chance: Kuldeep Yadav

“Once I connect, I know it will be a four or a six. I swing hard, and that is what helps the ball go over the road,” the Jamaican said after KKR’s 25-run win. What helps him give the white ball such a thwack is his ability to stay still, said Russell. So far he has hit 31 sixes, six short of Rishabh Pant who leads the tally. “Andre is Andre,” said Karthik.

This was a game where Rahane’s Royals had KKR at 24/3 and 51/4. At that time Rahane was attacking with a leg-slip, a short-leg and a short mid-on. RR were weaving a web of spin that was sucking KKR in till Karthik and Shubman Gill managed to find a way out. Russell did the rest.

“A lot of credit must go to Andre Russell for the way he batted; he played fearless cricket,” said Rahane. With Rahul Tripathi first and then Sanju Samson, Rahane too had taken RR to a position from where they should have won. But then, they didn’t have Russell.

“This was an extra-ordinary innings. We were looking at 140-150 but he (Russell) took us to 169. It was an innings deserving of the Man-of-the Match award,” said KKR’s chinaman hero Kuldeep Yadav.

First Published: May 24, 2018 08:21 IST