My best innings - Russell
Allrounder Andre Russell has said West Indies' failure to apply pressure when Harbhajan Singh came out to bat when India were 92 for 6, still needing 134 runs for victory, cost them the game.
"When Harbhajan came to the wicket, we didn't really apply much pressure," Russell said. "We allowed him to score freely. That's the thing we have to tighten up next time. We had to bowl at right areas against him early on to make him uncomfortable. We didn't do that today. All of these things we can take as a learning experience."
There were hardly any people in for the game in the morning and those who had come were stunned by the West Indian top-order collapse as they crumbled from 65 for 1 to 96 for 7. It was Russell, who with his violent, unbeaten 92 and some clean hitting, lifted West Indies out of the hole. He started his innings slowly, ensuring he settled in before he unfurled the bigger shots. One ball flew over the midwicket boundary and landed in the parking lot. A few others also cleared the boundary. He ultimately hit eight fours and five sixes in his 64-ball knock.
"I always go in with a positive frame of my mind, "Russell said. "I believe in myself and I know I can hit the ball. What matters the most to me is that I get a start. As long as I get a start; start sweating a bit and see the bowlers, I can bang them around later. It was important for me to do well and express myself against a top team like India. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands."
Russell said he wasn't nervous when he walked into bat with West Indies reeling at 96 for 7. "The experience of playing in the World Cup helped. In fact I ran in to the crease and had no nerves. It was somewhat a similar situation against England in the World Cup. We had lost early wickets then as well. I just focussed on getting a start. There were lots of overs left and I knew if I could stay there as long as possible I would score some runs."
An innings like this is bound to raise the expectations of the fans, who will demand from him to perform as an allrounder, but Russell said he primarily saw himself as a bowling allrounder. "I try to balance it as the best I can. Bowling is my first choice. I bowl first in the nets and then have a hit. I don't go to training and just bowl and not bat. I want to have that balance and enjoy the success."
Russell said that Saturday's knock was easily his best innings of his life. "I had 65-ball 108 against Ireland for Jamaica but this was my biggest innings as it came on a big stage. That 108 was amazing but I really enjoyed myself today. If only we had 30 more runs the result could have been different."
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo