Decoding the phenomenon that is Andre Russell
Andre Russell is on an exhilarating spree, pulling off one impossible heist after another in IPL 2019. The swashbuckling all-rounder from the Caribbean seems to be the toughest juggernaut to deal with as the tournament approaches its business end.
A string of excellent individual scores, littered with majestic boundaries, have made practically every stadium witness the Russell magic. The man has made a believer out of every IPL fan in general, and KKR fan in particular.
So far, Russell has notched up scores of 49*(19) vs SRH, 48(17) vs KXIP, 62(28) vs DC, 48*(13) vs RCB and 50*(44) vs CSK. And his run seems even more striking when you consider under what circumstances he has made such substantial contributions.
In their opening encounter against SRH, KKR needed 87 when Russell walked out to bat in the company of Nitish Rana. In the match against Delhi Capitals, Russell mixed caution with aggression, steering the team through trouble while posting a respectable total.
The most remarkable of all of Russell's escapades would have to be his splendid outing against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). With the chips down at 139/4 in 15.4 overs, KKR needed 67 from 26 balls when Russell walked out to bat. After a quiet stay at the crease on his first four deliveries, the man of the hour changed gears and unleashed an onslaught that not many could have fathomed.
Perhaps the only way we can understand the enigma that is Andre Russell would be to look at the startling numbers that the man has racked up in such a short span of time.
He has hit 25 sixes in the six matches he has played so far while batting at a whopping strike rate of over 200. He is leaps and bounds ahead of Chris Gayle (18 sixes) when it comes to clearing the boundaries on the full in IPL 2019. Russell has hit a six on every fifth ball this tournament.
Since the start of 2018, Russell has taken his game to an entirely new level. He scores at 11.68 runs per over in the death overs, almost 2 runs more than all the other batsmen during the same period of the game.
Russell's penchant for batting against pace is evident from the fact that he scores at 12.09 runs per over against fast bowlers in the death overs when compared to his scoring rate of 9.69 against the spinners during the same period.
The only solution that comes close to tackling the Russell phenomenon is the deployment of spinners in the death overs. Russell has had his fair share of mishaps when batting against leg-spinners; he scores at 8.56 runs per over against leg spin, which is almost 4 runs per over less than the rate at which he scores against other bowlers.
Opposition captains may eventually need to take a leap of faith when giving the ball to the slower bowlers in the death overs.
But that's still a gamble, as Russell can tonk the spinners for sixes too. All said and done, the fans out there can rest assured that ‘Russell Mania' is here to stay.
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