Russell destroys Daredevils with breathtaking assault
All-star of the match
Andre Russell's innings in Monday's match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils spanned just 12 deliveries. But when you clear the boundary off half of those deliveries, you know you've done something special.
Russell did everything Knight Riders required of him at that stage. He walked in at 117 for 4 in the 14th over, with Knight Riders seeking some end-overs thrust to take them to a dominant score, and he provided that with minimal fuss. Daredevils could have avoided so much of this mess had Jason Roy clung on to a catch off the third ball Russell faced. With Mohammed Shami angling a shortish delivery into him, Russell swiped and skewed a top-edge towards Roy, who slightly mistimed his dive after running in from long-on and failed to hold on to the low chance.
As it turned out, that was the only moment when Shami came close to getting the better of Russell. The rest of that contest was a demolition. Having already collected a six off the ball before the drop, Russell slapped two more this side of the reprieve. When Shami returned for his next over, he found Russell in an even more unforgiving mood.
You couldn't fault Shami for not trying, but Russell just stood unfazed. Short ball, ramped over third man; full ball, mowed over long-off; knuckle ball, carved over deep point; length ball, swung over midwicket. It was almost as though Russell came out exclusively to brutalise Shami. He pillaged 40 off his 41 runs, and all his six sixes, against him. In 22 balls during Russell's stay, KKR shot from 117 to 178. Daredevils never managed to recover.
The wow moment
Russell's innings on Monday was characterised by the typical traits associated with him: economy of feet movement, balance, tremendous reach, and, for the most part, clean, forceful swinging. But nothing typified that power better than the six he hit to begin the 17th over. With Shami floating away a knuckle ball wide of his off-stump, Russell got down on one knee to carve it over deep point. The most remarkable aspect of the shot was the lack of elevation. It was as flat a six as you'll ever see.
- During the course of his innings, Russell equalled the record for the most sixes off a single bowler in an IPL innings. Virat Kohli did it against KC Cariappa in the 2016 IPL, and Russell himself did it a week ago, against Dwayne Bravo.
- No length was safe to bowl at Russell. He hit three sixes off the three short balls bowled at him, two off three full balls, and one off three length balls. The most effective deliveries against him were short of a good length, which fetched three runs off two balls, and the yorker, which led to his wicket.
- Eight-seven percent of Russell's runs came via sixes - the highest in IPL history among innings of 30 runs or more.
- Shami conceded 40 off nine balls to Russell. Against the rest of Knight Riders' batsmen, he gave away 12 off 15, with no boundaries.
"We bowled a lot of balls in Russell's radar. We had plans for him, but when he gets going it's tough for the bowlers to execute the plans."
Daredevils captain Gautam Gambhir
Akshay Gopalakrishnan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo