If it happens once, its a magic but if it happens twice, its a method. This fact proves that there is nothing magical about Andre Russell’s swashbuckling match-turning and insanely powerful hitting.
A couple of days after after stunning SRH with an incredible knock, Russell once again arrived at Eden Gardens to maul Punjab with a similar innings. And this time a reliable support from Nitesh Rana meant KKR’s score propelled to 218 which proved too much for Punjab despite half-centuries from Mayank Agarwal and David Miller.
Kolkata brought back Sunil Narine at the top of the order and it was proved as an effective move as Narine slammed 24 runs off just nine balls. Chris Lynn meanwhile continued to struggle and Mohammad Shami ended his misery in the third over. Narine too departed in the fourth over.
Then, the duo of Nitesh Rana and Robin Uthappa took over and produced a critical 110 runs partnership in 11 overs. With Uthappa anchoring the innings, Rana went berserk and provided the boost in the middle overs.
Rana scored just 34 runs off his first 26 balls but he upped the ante in the 12th over and nailed two sixes against Ashwin. In the 13th over he slammed two sixes to Mandeep and scored two fours and a six to Viljoen in the next over before getting out in the 14th over for 63 runs off 34 balls.
After that Russell took over and creamed two sixes and two fours in Tye’s 18th over. However the biggest assault was delivered to Shami as Russell cantered him for three consecutive sixes and a four in the 19th over.
Russell finished with 48 runs off 17 balls and Uthappa remained not out on 67 runs off 50 balls.
Russell wasn’t done yet as he returned to deliver another decisive blow to Punjab. He got rid of Gayle in the fifth over and pushed Punjab on the backfoot.
Mayank Agarwal (58 off 34 balls) and David Miller (59 not out off 40 balls) stitched a partnership of 74 runs but consumed almost eight overs which proved too costly in the end. Mandeep Singh played a cameo off 33 runs off 15 balls but that wasn’t enough.
Russell was the man of the match for his astonishing batting and for claiming two wickets.