IPL Andre Russell

Andre Russell cashes in on fielding team slip-up

IPL 12, news

Hit For Six!
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Miss your chance against Andre Russell, and he'll make you pay for it, as Ravichandran Ashwin's Kings XI Punjab found out the hard way in their Indian Premier League game against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Russell was Player of the Match for the second game in a row, after his 48 off 17 balls on Wednesday, 27 March, lifted Kolkata to 218/4, the highest IPL total at Eden Gardens. He followed that up by taking two wickets as the home team sealed a 28-run win.

The big-hitting Jamaican knows the importance of going out to bat with a "clear head". His routine before batting, where he runs in swinging the bat "to get my body warm, get the adrenaline rush" sets him up to go big from ball one. However, it sometimes takes a bit of luck.

In the 17th over, when Russell was still fresh at the crease, Mohammed Shami came out with a plan to bowl to him, nailing the yorkers. One of them, on just the fifth ball Russell faced, did the trick perfectly, rattling his stumps. However, the umpire ruled it a no-ball, as Punjab had only three fielders inside the circle, as against the four that the rules required.

A relieved Russell, who was on 3 then, made the most of the life given to him, bludgeoning 21 runs in the next over and finishing with five sixes.

These things don't happen every day. Once you get the opportunity to keep going, you have to maximise on it.

Andre Russell

“Thanks to that guy who was outside the ring," Russell joked at the post-match presentation. "Thank you! When I get bowled, I thought I had missed out, but I saw the guys in the dug out signalling no-ball and I was like, 'please god, [let it be a no-ball]'.

"I capitalised on that. These things don't happen every day. Once you get the opportunity to keep going, you have to maximise on it."

"We weren't focused on the small things, and the small things do cost you in this format," said Ashwin, taking the blame for the slip-up. “I should have had a look at it. At that stage, with the slog on, you expect the fielders to keep it on, but obviously he [the fielder] was a debutant."

Andre Russell put in an all-round performance, picking up the wicket of Chris Gayle – AFP
Andre Russell put in an all-round performance, picking up the wicket of Chris Gayle – AFP

Mike Hesson, the Punjab coach, agreed that it was the moment that changed the game. "We had a plan to Russell, which we executed well. But we weren't alert enough on the field and the game changed," he said at the press conference. "We had that little bit of jubilation when we got things right, and then things turned pretty quickly."

It also all meant that in the battle of the Jamaicans on the day, Russell came out on top, against Chris Gayle. The all-rounder, in fact, was the one to dismiss Gayle, in the fifth over of the chase.

“Gayle is like a brother to me," he said. "A legend – and to get him out early in the first six [was important] – we know what he can do. The plan was to restrict him as best as possible ... Today, I hit some big ones, but he is still the bigger hitter."

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