Is there any such thing as a safe total against a side that has Andre Russell in their ranks?
That's a question bowlers participating in the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be asking themselves after watching the West Indian all-rounder guide the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a five-wicket win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the latter's den on Friday.
Much like his onslaught against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) that saw KKR get their campaign to a winning start on 24 March, Russell took charge of the chase when victory seemed impossible for Dinesh Karthik's men. With KKR needing 53 to win off the last three overs, RCB would've felt closer to the finish line than they have so far in the tournament. The only thing standing between them and victory was Russell, who is known to get into the fifth gear from the word 'go'.
What followed was a rain of boundaries (seven sixes and a four) over the next two overs, as Russell just went berserk against the likes of Mohammed Siraj/Marcus Stoinis (the former taken out of the attack midway in the 18th over after bowling a second beamer) and Tim Southee. By the time the last ball of the penultimate over was bowled, the scores were level, and Shubhman Gill collected the winning single off the first ball of the final over.
All of this on a day when Virat Kohli (84) and AB de Villiers (63) were at their entertaining best, and gave the RCB fans a reason to smile. Their knocks, and RCB's 200-plus total, however, couldn't save the team from a fifth consecutive loss.
Let's now take a look at how the Twitterati reacted to Russell's innings:
Pretty sure bowlers will agree with this statement
Has to be the scariest in world cricket #DreRuss
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 5, 2019
In a league of his own at the moment
Andre Russell is playing a different game to the rest of the world right now. Hitting like we have never seen before. Russell this IPL: 111•41166141464•611•111111644666641W•1••6166•1•••1114•616641424W•1••666166646 77 balls 207 runs 16.12 RPO#IPL #RCBvKKR — Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) April 5, 2019
Redefining what is considered attainable
Before this year no one had ever got 53 off the last 3 overs to win an IPL game. Thanks to Andre Russell, KKR have done that twice already - both *easily* in the end. Russell is redefining what is attainable - and considered normal - in T20.
— Tim (@timwig) April 5, 2019
Andre Russell is just ridiculous!!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 — Sam Billings (@sambillings) April 5, 2019
A contender for Bengal Ratna?
Andre Russell should be given Bengal Ratna and replace Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar in list of greatest Bengalis. Also Rajya Sabha TMC MP.
— Arnab Ray (@greatbong) April 5, 2019
The only way opposing teams can stop Dre Russ in IPL 2019..
The only way teams can stop Andre Russell is ensuring they don’t dismiss the 5 batsmen before him. Once it’s 3-down, let the catches fall short, miss the run outs and hope and pray you keep missing the stumps when the batsman swings & misses. #RCBvKKR #IPL — Raunak Kapoor (@RaunakRK) April 5, 2019