No ground is big enough for me: Russell

Bengaluru: No ground is big enough for me, Andre Russell said after yet another unbelievable display of power hitting by the Jamaican in the Indian Premier League.

Russell smashed an unbeaten 48 off 13 balls as Kolkata Knight Riders plundered 66 runs in four overs to script a memorable win over Royal Challengers Bangalore here Friday night.

The all-rounder said that he had thought Australian grounds were massive, only to surprise himself by sending a few into the stands Down Under. “A few grounds in Australia and then I surprised myself there by hitting a few into the stands. No ground is big enough for me I guess, I just trust my strength and trust my power. I have good bat speed. I trust that as well,” Russell said after his exploits in KKR’s five-wicket win at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Needing 66 runs off 24 balls, KKR were up against it before Russell came in and smashed them to complete the job with five balls to spare. His knock comprised seven sixes and one four. “The support is good from the boys and I am in a good space so that I can express myself. I try short arm jabs as extending the arms can put you in trouble. Can’t explain much, rather show that on the field,” Russell said.

KKR were kept alive in the chase through opener Chris Lynn (43 off 31), Robbie Uthappa (33 off 25) and Nitish Rana (37 off 23) before Russell singlehandedly got the job done in the death overs. “I was confident when I went out to bat. DK (Dinesh Karthik) was telling me to take a few balls to see how the pitch is behaving. I was watching in the dugout on TV and had a fair idea. When you need 68 off 20-odd balls, it doesn’t happen everyday. Need to put your body on the line. The nature of T20 is such that one over can change the momentum. That’s why I never give up. A part of me was saying that the runs needed were too much but I wanted to fight and eventually, we won with five balls spare,” Russell added.

Virat Kohli, the losing captain however came down heavily on his bowlers after his team suffered their fifth straight loss in the IPL, saying the team ‘deserved’ to be where it is after an ‘unacceptable’ outing.

“There is no guessing there (about where we lost the game), the last 4 four overs that we bowled was just unacceptable. We needed to be more clever, nothing came off and we just cracked under pressure. That’s been our story this season so far,” Kohli said.

“If you bowl with not enough bravery in the crucial overs, it’s always going to be difficult against power-hitters like Russell. If we bowl like that, (and) we don’t show composure in pressure moments, we deserve to be where we are in the table,” Kohli said.

“I thought the runs were enough on the board, we didn’t have enough composure. If you can’t defend 75 in the last four overs, then I don’t know if you can defend 100. We can have a bit of chat about what went wrong, apart from that nothing much you can say. I don’t think talking enough helps all the time. You have to look at things in hindsight but I thought the runs were enough on the board. If you saw the ball, the way it spun and stuck in the wicket, it wasn’t that easy. But we just didn’t have composure. You need to give the guys some space and come back stronger in the next game. It’s been a disappointing season so far, but we are still optimistic about our chances,” added Kohli.