Andre Russell’s 10 innings that turned games on its head

Any well-rounded side needs the type of batsman who can graft and play the long innings, as well as the kind who can decimate the bowling in short bursts. Andre Russell is one of the fiercest proponents of the latter category. Shiamak Unwalla picks out 10 innings across formats in which Russell turned the game on its head.

 

1:  West Indies vs India at Antigua (ODI), 2011: 92* off 64

West Indies were batting first, and at 96 for seven seemed down and out. Russell walked in at No. 9 and went ballistic. He had an invaluable stand with Carlton Baugh (36) to ensure that West Indies played their full 50 overs. After Baugh’s dismissal with the score on 174, Russell went a notch higher. He eventually remained unconquered on 92 off 64 deliveries, hitting eight fours and five sixes.

India,in response,were 92 for six before a similar stand, between Rohit Sharma and Harbhajan Singh, saved the day. Praveen Kumar came and threw his bat around in the end as India managed to sneak through with a hard-earned three-wicket win. But the match would have been over far sooner had it not been for Russell’s breath-taking innings.

2:  India vs West Indies at Ahmedabad (ODI), 2011: 40* off 18

Batting first, West Indies never really got going. The top and middle order got in but failed to make good on their starts, and at 181 for five in the 45th over it seemed they would be resigned to a middling score. Russell and Sammy then proceeded to score 79 off the last 34 balls of the innings as West Indies reached 260 for five, with Russell’s contribution being 40 not out off 18 balls.

Ravi Rampaul then proceeded to rock India, getting rid of VirenderSehwag and GautamGambhir for golden ducks. Rohit Sharma scored a fighting 95, but it was not enough to see India home as West Indies won by a mere 16 runs.


3:  West Indies vs New Zealand at St Kitts (ODI), 2012: 59* off 40

Darren Sammy won the toss and elected to bat first, but at 37 for three and later 104 for five, he would have rued his decision. After a bit of a recover thanks to Dwayne Bravo, West Indies were soon down and out again at 180 for eight when he was dismissed. Russell once again came to the party, scoring an unbeaten 59 off 40 balls to guide West Indies to 241 for nine.

Sunil Narine then spun a web on the Kiwis, taking five for 27 as New Zealand were bowled out for 221, thereby awarding West Indies a 20-run win; a win that would have been impossible without Russell’s knock at the end.

 

4:  Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings at Hyderabad (T20), 2014: 58 off 25

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) had won Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014, and they started of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 with a match against tournament favourites Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Bowling first, KKR restricted CSK to 157 for four in their 20 overs with Narine taking one for nine in his four overs.

In reply, CSK reduced KKR to 51 for five in nine overs. Russell walked in at No. 7 to join Ryan ten Doeschate, and proceeded to take the game well out of CSK’s grasp. He hammered 58 off 25 deliveries, hitting four fours and five sixes in the process as KKR managed to salvage a victory from the jaws of defeat.

5:  Jamaica Tallawahsvs Guyana Amazon Warriors at Jamaica (T20), 2014: 58* off 24

Playing for Jamaica Tallawahs in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2014, Russell first did well with the ball, taking one for 10 in two overs, as Guyana Warriors were restricted to a mere 137 for nine in 20 overs.

Perhaps because of the low score, the Tallawahs took it a bit easy in their chase, with none of the top five batsmen (Chris Gayle included) scoring at a strike rate over 100. At 62 for four in the 14th over, it appeared that the Tallawahs had left far too much for the end. Russell had other ideas though, hitting three fours and six sixes en route to an unbeaten 58 off 24 balls. With 10 runs needed off the last two balls, Russell hit a four and a six as the Tallawahs won off the final ball of the match.


6:  Jamaica Tallawahsvs Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel at St Kitts (T20), 2014: 62* off 27

It was the semi-final of CPL 2014 and the pressure was immense. Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel were put in by Tallawahs captain Gayle. Ross Taylor played what he might have thought would be the innings of the match, scoring 70 off 44 balls as Red Steel got to 155 for six.

In response, the Tallawahs were reeling at 72 for six with Russell new at the crease and Juan Theron at the other end. By now, Russell had amassed the reputation of being a fearsome batsman, and he continued that trend again. He hit five fours and four sixes in an unbeaten 62 off 27, as the Tallawahs won with two balls to spare.

7:  Knights vs Dolphins at Kimberley (T20), 2014: 50 off 19

Playing for the Knights in Ram Slam T20 Challenge 2014, Russell came in to bat at No. 5, a position higher than he is used to. Russell proved that promoting him up the order was a great decision, as he massacred the Dolphins’ bowling en route to a 19-ball 50. He did not hit a single boundary, but sent the ball over the ropes on six occasions as the Knights got to 167 for five.

His job was not yet over though, as he then proceeded to take three for 17 as the Dolphins crashed to 128 all out. Russell’s spell would have been enough to get him Man of the Match, but his 19-ball 50 was what boosted the Knights in the first place.

8:  South Africa vs West Indies at Port Elizabeth (ODI), 2015: 64* off 40

South Africa batted first, and rode on David Miller’s maiden One-Day International (ODI) century to amass 262 for eight in their 50 overs. JP Duminy scored 43, but no other Protean crossed 20.

In reply, West Indies found themselves in the muck at 73 for five before Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy stitched a 93-run alliance. However, both batsmen were dismissed within 23 runs of each other to leave West Indies at 189 for seven. Russell then took centre-stage, and played his inimitable brand of strokeplay to remain unbeaten on 64 off 40 balls with five fours and as many sixes.

9:  Pakistan vs West Indies at Christchurch (ODI), 2015: 42* off 13

West Indies were beaten by Ireland in their first match of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and they were in dire need of setting the record straight against Pakistan. Darren Bravo (49 retired hurt), DeneshRamdin (51) and Lendl Simmons (50) all got starts, but at 259 for five in the 48th over it seemed that West Indies would just about reach the 275-run mark. Enter Russell, who needed only 13 balls to massacre the Pakistan bowling. He thrashed three fours and four sixes in his brief knock as West Indies ended at a commanding 310 for six.

Pakistan were one for four and 25 for five in response, and ended up losing the match by 150 runs as West Indies vindicated themselves with a huge win to come back from the loss to Ireland.

 
10:  Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders at Pune (T20), 2015: 66 off 36

The innings that Russellplayed for KKR against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Match 14 of IPL 2015 would rate as one of his best knocks under pressure — which is saying something. George Bailey led KXIP to 155 for nine after being 107 for five at one stage.

Sandeep Sharma then proceeded to show just why he is so highly rated, producing a spell of top quality swing bowling, snaring four for 25 to leave KKR reeling at 60 for five. Russell again showed just what he is capable of, dwarfing Yusuf Pathan(28*) in their 95-run partnership as he hammered 66 off 36 deliveries with nine fours and two sixes. He was dismissed with just one run to win.

 

More stories by this writer:

Bangladesh: No longer minnows of the cricket world

Seven instances when Vinod Kambli’s public posturing proved to be an embarrassment

IPL 2015: The secret agreement between Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner!

 

 

(Shiamak Unwalla is a proud Whovian and all-round geek who also dabbles in cricket writing as a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)