West Indies swashbuckler does the impossible after Kohli, de Villiers hoist RCB to 205
Andre Russell came up with another sensational display of power hitting to fire Kolkata Knight Riders to a five-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League match, in Bengaluru, on Friday.
Needing 66 runs off 24 balls, Kolkata were down and out before Russell came in and smashed an unbeaten 48 off 13 balls to complete what looked an impossible task with five deliveries to spare.
His breathtaking knock comprised seven sixes and one four.
The West Indies batsman’s brutal hitting came at the fag end of the match after Virat Kohli (84 off 49) and AB de Villiers (63 off 32) recreated their "magic" with a delightful 108-run stand to take RCB to 205 for three.
The result means KKR have now won three out of their four games while RCB have lost five in a row and are heading towards another sorry season.
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.
RCB spinners Pawan Negi (2/21) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1/24) bowled well and were able to generate sharp turn, putting brakes on the KKR scoring rate, but a pedestrian bowling effort by the RCB pacers helped KKR's cause.
Earlier, Kohli and de Villiers hammered the bowlers at will, recreating the magic they have woven many times in the past. During his sublime knock, Kohli also overtook Suresh Raina to becoming the leading run-getter in IPL history besides completing 8000 runs in T20 cricket.
Raina, who has scored 5086 runs, could overtake Kohli on Saturday when Chennai Super Kings host Kings XI Punjab.
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma is third in the list with 4600 IPL runs.
The RCB skipper hit some beautiful cover drives early on and his innings comprised nine fours and two sixes.
De Villiers too was in his element, smashing five fours and four maximums.
Kohli was finally out in the 18th over off Kuldeep Yadav as he hit the ball straight into the bowler's hands. He was particularly severe on Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Fergusson and Nitesh Rana.
De Villiers played second fiddle to Kohli before cutting loose to produce some massive hits.
In the last over, Marcus Stoinis belted 18 runs off Prasidh with the help of two boundaries and a six, pushing the total past the 200 mark.
Needing a good start desperately, Parthiv Patel and Kohli stitched 64 runs for the first wicket in 7.5 overs.
Patel was leg before to Nitesh Rana after scoring 25 off 24 balls, including three boundaries.