Andre Russell produced an innings of raw hitting power that blew away Punjab Super Kings (KXP) in the second match of the Indian Premier League on Saturday in Pune. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) was struggling at 60 for five in the eighth over when Russell walked in. The team needed 96 runs more in just about 12 overs. He took a few deliveries to get his eye in, as he scored just six runs from the first seven deliveries. But he slammed 60 runs from the next 29 deliveries he faced. Game over. KKR reached the target in 17.5 overs. Yousuf Pathan, himself a power hitter of some repute, was almost a spectator in his partnership with Russell.
Earlier, KKR’s skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and decided to bat. Their bowlers did a great job to restrict the power-packed Punjab team to just 155. All their bowlers chipped in with wickets. Umesh Yadav, who took three wickets, and Sunil Narine, who gave away just 17 runs in four overs, were the picks of the lot. For the Punjab side, skipper George Bailey once again rescued the team with a measured half century. Glen Maxwell scored 33, but he was not at his destructive best.
When KKR began their chase, Sandeep Sharma tried to puncture it with accurate and crafty swing bowling. He took four top order wickets to reduce the Kolkata team to 60 for 5. But then Russell stuck like a lightning. Sharma could only watch helplessly as Russell unleashed a flurry of boundaries and sixes.
No prize for guessing: Russell is the man of the match.