The West Indian hit nine sixes and two fours in his 25-ball 65, combining with the impressive Nitish Rana in a 118-run partnership off eight overs. Russell was at his belligerent best again and from 14-20 overs exhibited some incredible hitting to take Kolkata to the verge of a win.
20, 17, 15, 18, 19 and 13 runs came off the last six overs in the run-chase as no RCB bowler was spared. There was at least one six hit every over and the huge pressure of the run-chase did not seem to bother Russell, who was smashing sixes for fun.
Russell's strike rate of 260 in this innings is his third best in the season. That kind of sums up the season he has had so far. Against RCB earlier in the season, he had helped chase down a 200-plus total by smashing 48 in 13 balls at a strike rate of 369.23. Before that against Kings XI Punjab, Russell smashed 48 in 17 balls at 282.35.
In all but one innings this season, Russell has made runs at a strike rate of 210 or more. A strike rate of 220.46 in the season is the best by some distance while the 39 sixes he has also has no competitor (next best being 26 by Chris Gayle).
The nine sixes he hit today is the second most in a game in this season after Kieron Pollard's 10 maximums against Kings XI Punjab. Russell is also the proud record holder for the best strike rate in the history of the IPL at 188.26. This year, he has averaged 75.40, which is second only to MS Dhoni.
Russell's incredible hitting in the death overs makes him a dangerous proposition for opposition sides playing Kolkata. His consistency in making runs at strike rates well above the average make him a player like no other and this season so far he has single-handedly shouldered the burden at Kolkata Knight Riders.
First Published: April 20, 2019, 6:34 AM IST