Lightning Never Strikes Twice, But Russell May > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Lightning never strikes twice, but Russell might
Andre Russell was stepping over the boundary line at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. He paused for a few seconds before joining the rest of his team that were going about their routine pre-match warm-up drills. One foot in, he bent forward, touched the ground with his hand before looking up at the skies.
It was almost an extraordinary rendition from the scene earlier in the day. After bolting through to complete Kolkata Knight Riders' winning run, Russell punched the air, took a victorious leap before looking up to the skies, as Carlos Brathwaite charged towards him to engulf him in an embrace. Not once, not twice, but Russell glanced up multiple times after having had single-handedly snatched a victory right out of the Royal Challengers Bangalore's clasp. It was almost as if the gods had paid heed.
Russell smashed seven sixes and a four in 13 balls to power KKR to an improbable victory; a miraculous one even, at a time when all hope seemed lost. And that, with five balls to spare. His unbeaten 48 came at an unbelievable strike rate of 369.23.
It wasn't the first time this season that Russell has come to KKR's aid. Much like the earlier three instances this season, he proved to be the difference.
KKR needed 67 off 26 balls when Russell walked in to bat. On a surface that reeked of runs, KKR were lagging in the game with Pawan Negi's double strike giving RCB a slight edge at that stage. It was RCB's game to lose, but their bowling at death had been nothing short of abysmal thus far in the season. It really though took KKR just two overs to turn the game on its head with RCB's fragile bowling exposed once again, especially in the death - an area of lacking that the franchise has always been associated with.
They were unable to deliver a single yorker in that period, failing to take a cue from Kagiso Rabada, as he validated in the Super Over finish in Delhi. Instead, they let Russell make a mockery of their bowling, from deep in the crease, making room for himself to clear the short boundaries in Bangalore comfortably, predominantly in the V, with as many as 24 runs coming in the region, driven by sheer power.
It began with Mohammad Siraj's over, the 18th. It couldn't get any worse for Siraj, who had dropped two catches on the night, much to the fury of skipper Virat Kohli, who had made his displeasure quite apparent by moving him out of the position immediately. Yet, when he was called upon to bowl, he started smartly, giving away nothing to keep Russell in check. However, two balls in a row above the waist and Siraj was forced out of the attack. To compound matters, not just did RCB give away two extras, but the second was bludgeoned out of the ground.
Marcus Stoinis was called in to bowl the remainder of the over, and was shown no respect either. He conceded two more sixes, along with another extra, extending their tally to 13 for the game. Just like that, KKR had milked 23 off the over, and the probability of them causing an upset heightened tenfold.
Kohli was counting on the experience of Tim Southee to pay off. But with rhythm lost, wayward lines, missing lengths, and constantly trying to change his angles into Russell, Southee was a sheep waiting to be hunted. The over read: 1 6 6 6 4 6, with 29 coming off it and KKR, rather Russell, had levelled the scores.
In that period, RCB's bowlers, visibly bogged down, were intimidated largely by the Goliath that Russell is and crumbled under pressure. RCB didn't do themselves any favours with dropped catches on the day either - as many as four of them. As skipper Virat Kohli said: "If you can't defend 75 in the last four overs, then I don't know if you can defend 100. We needed to be more clever, nothing came off and we just cracked under pressure. That's been our story this season so far."
Kohli and AB de Villiers had engulfed the Chinnaswamy in a surge of nostalgia earlier in the day when the two combined for a century stand. While Kohli brought up an IPL fifty after seven innings, de Villiers continued from where he left off against Mumbai Indians, as RCB piled on a total of over 200, and it seemed like they were in with a mighty good chance to pick up their first win of the season. Little did they know Russell had different plans.
Coincidentally, KKR needed 53 off the last three overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad too, earlier in the season. It was Russell who stole the show then, at Eden Gardens, as KKR pulled off the heist successfully. They say, lightning doesn't strike twice. But you can almost never rule out the same about Andre Russell.
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