Andre Russell has set the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League on fire and made it his own little playground. Such has been the dominance of the big Jamaican that he has made actual cricket look easier than a video game. The all-rounder has almost single-handedly won three games for his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders but at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, he might encounter a roadblock.
After defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore in their fourth match of the season, KKR has a quick turnaround as they take on Rajasthan Royals just 44 hours later on April 7. Talking about the obvious threat of Russell, Rajasthan's spin bowling all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham revealed that his team has made some plans to get the better of the most valuable player of IPL 2019.
"He has been in very good form. He has been hitting a lot of sixes and he is doing well for his team. We do have a plan set for him and hopefully it comes out," said Gowtham. The Rajasthan all-rounder is no alien to hitting a few long balls. Last season, he had single-handedly won Rajasthan a match at the death against Mumbai Indians by leveraging his long levers.
In that game at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Rajasthan looked destined for defeat as they required 38 runs off 14 balls when Gowtham brought out the big shots and finished the game off with two balls to spare. The 30-year-old finished with 33 off 11 in that match in what was one of the most brutal cameos.
This season, Russell has topped that and defied all definitions of impossibility as he chased down 53 runs off 3 overs on two separate occasions in the IPL. In KKR's first match of the campaign, the team looked in trouble while chasing 182 runs that SunRisers Hyderabad had posted at the Eden Gardens. But against one of the best collection of death bowlers the tournament had to offer, Russell plundered 40 runs off two overs from Sidharth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Finally, Shubman Gill launched two sixes off Shakib Al Hasan to notch up an improbable victory.
In that match, Russell was initially struggling to time the ball but ended up with four sixes and four boundaries scoring 49 off 19. In the second match, he was given a life as Mohammed Shami bowled him with a perfect Yorker but only three fielders were inside the circle, which led to a no-ball being signalled. He subsequently scored 48 off 17 hitting three fours and fives sixes to propel KKR to 218 in 20 overs.
In their third match, KKR was in trouble at 61-5, but a 28-ball 62 propelled them to 185 wherein they eventually lost in the Super Over. In their previous match, KKR chased down a record total of 206 against RCB to win and with 16 balls to spare, the match looked lost as the visiting team required 53 runs. Russell subsequently hit 7 sixes and one boundary to win the match in 11 balls.
Russell currently has 207 runs at an average of 103.5 and a strike rate of 268.83 in IPL 2019. He has hit 22 sixes in 77 balls and opponents must find a way to stop him in order to stop KKR.