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Russell a phenomenal ball striker, says Phil
3/26/2024 10:13:18 PM
NEW DELHI, Mar 26: Andre Russell's six-hitting carnage at the death that propelled Kolkata Knight Riders to a match-winning total did not come as a surprise to teammate Phil Salt, who described the star allrounder as the "best in the world on his day".
Russell muscled his way to a 25-ball 64 studded with seven sixes and three fours to power KKR to 208 for 7. The hosts then returned to limit Sunrisers Hyderabad to 204 for 7 and record a four-run win in a thrilling IPL clash here on Saturday.
Making debut for KKR, Salt, who had played alongside Russell in Manchester Originals in The Hundred, was excited to see another special from the West Indian.
"I've played with Dre (Russell) in the Hundred. He's a phenomenal ball striker. The best in the world on his day," Salt said after their win on Saturday.
"So, to see him do what he did, obviously is incredible. Love watching it, but, you know, it's no surprise to me. I don't think it's a surprise to anybody on the ground. When he's on, he's incredible."
Four of the top-five KKR batters got out for single digit scores managing just 18 runs in between them, but Salt held firm atop the order and found a fine ally in No 6 Ramandeep Singh (35 off 17).
The duo put together 54 runs that came off just 29 balls.
"Yeah, you know, what I said to the previous two batters is we'll take it to the 8th over, and if another wicket falls, we'll take it to the 10th. I said the same to Ramandeep, I said we'll take it to the 12th and we'll reassess there. He was really smart the way he played.
"He took the pressure off me to hit the boundaries. He came in and had a hell of a cameo and we started to put a partnership together.
"You know, when wickets are falling, it's all about making those partnerships. And for him to come out on debut (for KKR) and do that is very impressive."
Heinrich Klaasen threatened to spoil KKR's party with a counter-attacking fifty as IPL's most expensive player Mitchell Starc was hit for four sixes in his last over that yielded 26 runs for SRH.
Needing 12 to defend in the last over, the inexperienced Rana delivered.
"You try not to ride the wave when you're out there. The game seesawed all the way through their batting innings," Salt said.
"We had a few chances we didn't take in the field, and it looked like, at one point, getting towards that final over was going to hurt us.
"But Harshit held his nerves unbelievably well in the final over and I think we defended what was a pretty good score."
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