Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Andre Russell has grabbed massive headlines in just the first week of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 extravaganza. The big-hitting West Indian has contributed with match-winning performances in both the games against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab (SRH). He blasted a stunning knock of 49 runs off just 19 balls and also scored a blistering innings of 48 runs against Punjab. He was adjudged as the Man of the Match in both the games.
Russell plays an important role
Ahead of their third game against Delhi Capitals (DC) scheduled to be held later in the day, KKR senior batsman Robin Uthappa mentioned that Russell plays an important role in the team. Uthappa revealed that the all-rounder knows his importance in the side and he is the one who will take the team from 180 to 200. “Andre Russell plays an important role. We understand the impact he has for the team to go from 180 to 200. It is important for him to have freedom. He looks at himself as a senior statesman in the team. He understands the role,” quoted Robin Uthappa.
It is about balance
Uthappa stated that even if Russell fails to leave a mark in a certain match, the KKR team is still a pretty balanced and settled unit. In the recent encounter between Kolkata and Punjab during the 17th over of the first innings, KXIP fast bowler Mohammed Shami delivered a perfect yorker and got big-hitting KKR all-rounder Andre Russell bowled. But in contrary, Russell was not adjudged dismissed as Punjab had only three fielders inside the circle instead of the mandatory four. Thus, the on-field umpire was forced to call the delivery a no-ball.
“If he fails, it is about balance. If it wasn’t a no ball and Russell had gotten out (in the last game), I would have played an attacking role. But with him around, you have to be sensible about what the team needs. Russell will have a few bad days, it is bound to happen. We need to take that in our stride and deliver,” he added.
Ahead of KKR’s first away game of IPL 2019 against Delhi, Uthappa noted that it is very important for them to start really well. “First away game… This is important as we need to start well. Winning is important in away games. DC have always been a tough opponent in Delhi. It doesn’t look like a regular wicket. If it is a good wicket, we will get runs. The importance of away wins is huge. We have four away games, so starting well is important. We need to create that momentum away from home,” concluded Uthappa.