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Indian Premier League

‘Still figuring out how to score’ – It has been a decade, but Andre Russell continues to win matches for KKR

Today's IPL match Andre Russell (KKR)
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Nearly a decade after his debut for the franchise, Andre Russell continues to pull off amazing performances for KKR.

Despite Phil Salt’s 54, Kolkata Knight Riders were 105-5 in 12.1 overs when Andre Russell walked out to bat against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at Eden Gardens. He slammed a familiar 25-ball 64 that featured seven sixes (one every 3.5 balls) to take KKR to 208-7. He then took out Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad to finish with 2-25 as the hosts won by four runs.

Only eight times before Russell have cricketers scored as many runs at a rate as quick and taken two wickets in an IPL match. The Dre Russ show would have been celebrated significantly more had it been anyone else: with Russell, fans expect something spectacular every time he takes field even in a format this fickle.

In 2023, Russell’s strike rate across all T20 cricket had dropped to 155. Most batters aspire to attain that number in their good years, but it was the worst for Russell since 2011. He has returned with a vengeance in 2024, and has already amassed 474 runs at an absurd 227. He has hit a six every 4.6 balls, and a boundary every 3.4.

At the post-match presentation, Harsha Bhogle asked Russell whether he tracks his strike rate. “Not really,” came the response. “Sometimes stuff pops up on my Instagram and I realise how well I have been striking. It is a cool reminder – ‘you’ve been doing well’. I’m happy the way I am batting, and [am] grateful for the win tonight.”

Does Russell play predetermined shots? “I just try to react to whatever comes my way,” he explained. “Over the last year, two years, bowlers have been exceptionally bowling well to me. They plan very carefully when they are bowling to me.

“So I have been digging runs out in the back end and I am still figuring out how to score, because they are going to have their plans, and I realise everyone is coming to me with a plan. So I have to be ready.

Russell also spoke about his relationship with KKR, whom he has been playing for since 2014. “I am just happy to keep contributing. This franchise means a lot to me. They have, no doubt, shown faith and confidence in me over the years. What I did tonight is just to say, ‘keep supporting and I’m happy to contribute each time I put this jersey on.”

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