Andre Russell is one of the most powerful strikers of the ball in T20 cricket and he can leave an impact on the game like no other. The West Indian power-hitter has not performed much this season and KKR's chances of qualifying for the playoffs look slim but can he turn it around for them?
The Indian Premier League is one of the best in the world of franchise cricket. Players from all over the world come to take part in the T20 league and hope to get picked by any IPL team so that they can get a chance to showcase their talent. Fans find this format of the game the most interesting as it is full of entertainment and does not take as much time to watch like a One Day International or the longest format of the game which is Test cricket.
The skillset required in this format also varies from the ones that are needed in the other two. Franchises especially in the Indian Premier League are more interested in finding the right balance for their squad than having only big names who might not even deliver for them. The IPL has evolved a lot and over the years and every team owner now understands the game much better and always has a plan in place when they go to the auction table to make their squad. The teams generally go after solid top-order batters who can provide them with solid starts in the powerplay. The next players that hold as much importance are quality bowlers. They are imperative to every franchise in this format as they can be game-changers with their ability to take wickets at regular intervals and make sure that they can stop the run flow for the opposition team.
The third and one of the most important aspects is all-rounders who have the ability to hit the ball long and help sides finish games. Former Indian captain MS Dhoni has been a master of this and throughout his career, the veteran wicket-keeper batter has done well for whichever team he has played be it in the IPL or in international cricket.
However, another cricketer who has proved that he can change the game with his ability to strike powerfully in the IPL is Andre Russell. The West Indian all-rounder is one of the most feared all-rounders in the cash-rich league and whenever he comes out to bat the opposition is on alert as they know he can take the game away from them pretty quickly. The all-rounder has done well with both bat and ball over the years.
Andre Russell in the IPL has been a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise since the 2014 season and has since been an integral member of the franchise. He has done well with the ball consistently for his team and keeps picking wickets at crucial moments. Russell's ability to bowl in high-pressure situations and deliver for his side makes him an asset in the bowling department.
But, when it comes to his batting, Andre Russell has not been able to have an impact like he used to. The best season for him with the bat came in 2019 when he scored 510 runs from 14 games. That now looks like a thing of the past as since then he has not even come close to performing like that with the bat.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have been struggling this season and after starting well, they have not been able to finish games like they used to. This is where Andre Russell's role comes in as he has the ability to hit sixes at will and can have a strike rate over 200 as well. Shreyas Iyer's side needs to win almost every game from here on and Andre Russell himself recently in an interview said that every game is like a final for them. This makes it all the more interesting for Russell because I feel that he realises the importance of the final few league games that are left for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Andre Russell the bowler has delivered time and again for the KKR even if he bowls just a couple of overs. But the all-rounder has not been able to do it with the bat as much as he would have liked. He did give a glimpse of his old self when he started hitting the Gujarat Titans bowlers all around the park and almost took his team home. Russell's powerful knock of 48 from 25 balls reminded everyone what he can do with the bat.
This is the Andre Russell that KKR fans as well as the team management want to see. He needs to switch on his beast mode and hit bowlers to all parts of the ground if he wants his franchise to reach the top four on the points table and qualify for the playoffs. Russell's power-hitting can also help KKR improve on their net run rate which can be a major factor for them in the upcoming games as it is for every reason.
Andre Russell needs to channel his inner beast when he comes out to bat because if he does then skipper Shreyas Iyer who has been batting well in the season so far will be more confident even if his side has to bat first in a game. I say this because they will be able to post a mammoth total even if they bat first and in the final league games, teams will be under immense pressure while chasing and might falter which can give the Kolkata Knight Riders the opening that they may be looking for while defending the total.
I feel Andre Russell can do it and if all goes well his performances in the final few games can be the reason why KKR might make it to the playoffs even if they have a very slim chance right now.