'Sixty off 20 odd balls is not going to happen every day so we had to make sure we put our bodies on the line and I didn't quit.'
West Indies finisher Andre Russell continued his destructive Indian Premier League form with an unbeaten 48 off 13 deliveries to lead the Kolkata Knight Riders to a five-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.
Twice a World champion in the Twenty20 format, Russell hit seven sixes from nine balls in one purple patch as he drove his side to victory with five balls to spare, keeping Virat Kohli's Challengers still looking for their first win in five matches in the process.
Kohli (84) and South African AB de Villiers (63) had combined for 108 of the home side's 205 for three but hopes of a first victory were dashed when their death bowlers were unable to contain Russell.
The 30-year-old Jamaican all-rounder, who has now hit a remarkable 207 runs off 77 balls with 22 sixes in four matches, came out to bat with his side needing 68 runs from 26 balls and proceeded to flay the bowling around the Chinnaswamy.
"I was watching on the tellie upstairs so I kind of knew what the wicket was doing," said Man of the Match Russell.
"Sixty off 20 odd balls is not going to happen every day so we had to make sure we put our bodies on the line and I didn't quit. I trust my strength and I trust my power and I have a good bat speed so I trust that as well."
RCB must have thought they had the match all wrapped up. However, the Jamaican had other ideas. He threw caution to the wind and fired on all cylinders.
Mohammed Siraj seemed to have things under control when he bowled two consecutive dot balls in the 18th over. But the tide turned KKR's way when, after bowling a wide, Siraj bowled a second beamer. Russell found his range and he hit it for a six.
Siraj was taken out of the attack and Marcus Stoinis, who finished the over, was also hit for two big sixes and the equation was reduced to 30 runs from two overs.
Kohli handed the 19th over to the experienced Tim Southee, but the New Zealander flopped badly. Shubman Gill sensibly took a single and gave Russell the strike. He went berserk and smashed four sixes and a four in the over and it was over. By the time the last ball of the penultimate over was bowled, the scores were level, and Gill scored the winning single in the last over.
Kohli said RCB deserved their place at bottom of the IPL standings.
"If we bowl like that, (and) don't show composure in pressure moments, we deserve to be where we are in the table," the India captain said.
"There's no rocket science behind it. We haven't played the kind of cricket we should be playing at the level of the IPL and if you bowl like that, with not enough bravery in the crunch moments, then it's always going to be difficult when you have power-hitters like Russell in the opposition."
Russell, who struggled with knee problems at the back end of last year, will be hoping his sensational Twenty20 form will carry over to the 50-overs World Cup in England and Wales, which starts at the end of next month.