IPL 2019: Match 47, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians – How Russell's promotion spoiled MI's plans

Andre Russell walked out to bat in the 10th over of KKR's innings after the dismissal of Chris Lynn.

Andre Russell
Andre Russell. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sampath Bandarupalli

Sr. Statistician

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The Kolkata Knight Riders were under wide criticism for sending Andre Russell into bat a bit too late that has cost them the games recently. The pressure on the franchise doubled up after Russell’s comments about the environment inside the dressing room on the eve of their final home match against the Mumbai Indians. This time, Russell walked out to bat at No.3 with more than ten overs left in their innings. He remained unbeaten and struck a 40-ball 80 with six fours and eight maximums that powered them to a 34-run win.

Did it make any difference?

One could argue what difference did Andre Russell’s promotion make after all the hype as he scored only 30 from 23 balls at the end of the 17th over. In the final three overs, he amassed as many as 50 runs in only 17 balls which he is doing every other end in the IPL 2019. But more than the effectiveness with the bat, it was MI’s failed bowling plans against Russell that played a big role in the game.

71 runs in 5 innings at an average of 14.20 and a strike-rate of 139.22. These were Russell’s numbers against the Mumbai Indians prior to the game on Sunday at the Eden Gardens. The runs, the average and the strike-rate against MI are the worst for Russell against any other active team in the IPL. One of the main reasons for those failures was the quality of bowling and the situation he was taking on.

Playing it Russell way

This time around, the Caribbean all-rounder arrived at the crease in the 10th over and MI were quick to put their best effort with the ball. It was clear that Jasprit Bumrah‘s overs were saved for Russell and his early entry meant the No.1 ranked ODI bowler was also introduced immediately. Given the last couple of matches, it is evident that Russell struggles against the bouncer that is fired into his body, the googlies or the leg-breaks and also the yorker lengths.

MI tried to exploit all those as Bumrah’s 2nd over was the 11th over in the KKR innings while the leg-spinner Rahul Chahar bowled two from the other end. Hardik Pandya stuck to the plan of bowling short and wide of the off stump to Russell and was successful in first two overs. Chahar nearly claimed Russell with a leg-break as the KKR star hit one straight to Evin Lewis at cow-corner but he couldn’t hold on to the tough chance.

While Russell ensured he was there for a longer part, it was Shubman Gill who took the charge at the other end to keep the scoreboard racing. In Russell’s presence, MI couldn’t bring in either of Krunal Pandya and pacer Barinder Sran. The big man had scored only 30 off 23 balls by the end of 17th over but Bumrah had only one over left. If Russell hadn’t walked in early, the Indian pacer would have bowled 18th and the 20th overs.

He finished scoring 50 runs in the last three overs including 39 that came in the 18th and 20th overs bowled by Hardik and Malinga respectively. The devastating batsman got the better of Bumrah quite easily as he struck a four on a free-hit and followed it with a maximum during the 19th over. Had Russell come around 16th over like usual, he would have faced two overs of Bumrah in the last three and KKR could have finished at least 20 runs short; an achievable total for MI.

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