Andre Russell was at it again as he slammed 48 runs off just 13 deliveries helping Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) an unlikely victory and hand Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) their fifth straight defeat, from the jaws of victory.
The Knight Riders – who needed 53 off the final three overs – got home with five balls to spare to leave RCB captain Virat Kohli and the Chinnaswamy crowd in utter shock.
After starting the 18th over with a couple of dots, Russell went 6, 6, 6, 1, 6, 6, 6, 4, 6 to absolutely shatter Bangalore. RCB failed to nail a single yorker in this period and Russell punished them for it, even taking someone of the experience of Tim Southee, playing his first game of the season, for 29 of the penultimate over, which left the visitors with just 1 to get off the final over.
Standing deep in the crease, with his back foot probably within a foot of the stumps, Russell hardly had a problem clearing the short boundaries and he did it ball after ball to make a mockery of the bowling.
— Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) April 5, 2019
Earlier, the brilliance of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers had taken the hosts to 205 as the duo shared a stand of 108 for the second wicket. But on a pitch that was a belter, and with dew taking effect, their fragile bowling attack couldn’t cope with the pressure that Russell’s reputation alone carried.
Later, Kohli didn’t hold back his emotions and vented out his frustrations on RCB bowlers for being erratic and bowling to Russell’s strengths (i.e. resorting to length-balls instead of yorkers).
“There is no guessing there (about where they lost), the last 4 four overs that we bowled was just unacceptable. We needed to be more clever, nothing came off and we just cracked under pressure. That’s been our story this season so far. If you bowl with not enough bravery in the crucial overs, it’s always going to be difficult against power-hitters like Russell,” stated Kohli in the post-match presentation.