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IPL 2019: Andre Russell, the phenomenon

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
Timeless

Andre Russell faced 13 balls in the match and was crowned the 'Man of the Match' for his batting. His ball by ball scoring reads as follows:

.1..666166646

Thats an astounding 48 runs in 13 balls, to close out a match where KKR needed a huge 66 from the last 4 overs. To think he scored just a single off his first 4 balls, and then 47 over the next 9 balls is just mind boggling. RCB had won the match. He came in to bat when Nitish Rana got out in the 16th over. You felt that KKR had delayed Russell's entry just a bit too much for him to make a difference. Heck, Virat Kohli must have felt that win.

But this is T20 at its best. A format that has revolutionized cricket, and brought unadulterated joy and enthusiasm to the local cricket fan which is epitomised by such moments. As the age old swing goes, no match is over till the fat lady has sung Andre Russell has batted. The age old logic of 'balls remaining' v 'runs left' doesn't matter anymore. Anything is possible. Welcome to 2019.

RCB were 0-4 this season before this match. Kohli was itching for a win, and he put up a fine show with his 49 ball 84 ably supported by his partner in crime AB De Villiers who scored a quick-fire 32 ball 63. It finally looked like RCB's day this IPL. But they hadn't accounted for the phenomenon.

The magic of Russell's batting lies in its simplicity. He bats really deep inside the crease so he can get leverage on even traditional full pitched and yorker balls. He then brings in his patience and his muscles. There are no wild slogs, he sees each ball right till the end and hits it exactly in the direction where the bowler has erred.

Sample his 7 sixes and where he hit each of them:

Six number 1: full toss over the waist that was pulled out of the ground

Six number 2: slower ball on the fuller length, deposited over long on

Six number 3: length ball outside off and was hit over long off

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Six number 4: length ball on the stumps and he puts it over long leg

Six number 5: Short and wide outside off stump, he hits it over backward point

Six number 6: full toss which was almost a yorker, and he hits this between long on and mid wicket

Six number 7: straight full ball, and he bashes it straight over the bowler

Not a single slog. This is a batting masterclass. Cricket connoisseurs rave about the batting and technique of Gavaskar and Dravid in test matches but this is no less genius. To play the ball in the right direction, without slogging, with that power and bat speed is a superhuman skill. Russell is a masterpiece that must be celebrated. We might not see such a talent ever again.

In a match where Kohli scored a masterful 84 in 49 balls, and AB De Villiers scored a ruthless 63 in 32 balls, the 'Man of the Match' was Andre Russell who played just 13 balls. Let that sink in.


Andre Russell hitting one of his glorious sixes © BCCI/IPL
Andre Russell hitting one of his glorious sixes © BCCI/IPL
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