Kolkata, April 10: If there is another topic other than 'Mankading' that has made the IPL 2019 famous, it is Andre Russell's batting. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder has been hitting the ball consistently hard this season and has been the chief architect in three out of four KKR wins.
The 30-year-old Jamaican has indeed eclipsed the rest of his side so far, including in the game against defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Chennai on Tuesday which the KKR lost by 7 wickets. The Caribbean hit 50 not out off 44 balls even when wickets kept on tumbling around him and the KKR managed only 108 in 20 overs.
The supreme hitting by Russell (in six games so far, he has amassed 257 runs at an average of 128 and strike-rate of 212 and there are already 25 sixes to his credit) has turned eyeballs.
One of the unusual features of Russell is that the man has returned a better player after his ban, unlike most others whose momentum gets disrupted by a prolonged suspension. Russell was banned for a year after missing doping tests and has hit everything that has come on his way in this IPL 2018. Last year, Russell scored 316 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of 184.
His knock of 88 not out in 36 balls against CSK saw a single-handed effort against MS Dhoni's team and even though the KKR lost the game, Russell made a deep impact. This year, the man's show has been even better.
One of the reasons why Russell has been hitting the ball so authoritatively is that he is clobbering the bowlers with no foot movement. The purists will not find it to their liking but that's how Russell has made it possible: plant the foot, get a strong base and boom! As a result of this technical change, Russell is scoring more runs in the front than back.
The opponent team's hopes against Russell lie more in bowling the slow bowlers against him as he has a comparatively lesser success rate against them. While he scored at almost 11 against pacers in T20, it is less than nine against spinners. In terms of dismissal rate too, the spinners have a better show against the big hitter than the seamers. A clue?