Andre Russell blasted a sensational 80 from 40 balls to snap Kolkata losing streak on Sunday at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. For Mumbai, Hardik Pandya responded with an equally belligerent 91 from 34 balls. But, Mumbai's early struggle in the chase made the big difference as they succumbed to a 34-run loss.
For Kolkata, Russell was aided by half-centuries from openers Shubman Gill, who smashed 76 from 45 balls and Chris Lynn, who contributed 54 from 29 balls. In contrast, Mumbai lost 4 for 58, and despite Pandya's brilliance, it was not enough for Mumbai as they fell way short of the 233-run target.
Speaking about the secret of his big-hitting after yet another sensational knock, Russell said at the post-match presentation, "Co-ordination, good balance and I generate a lot of power from my shoulders. You have to make sure your body is fit and strong. Definitely one of my best T20 days. We knew we needed to get 200+. Just goes to show. Just over 200, it would have been a different game. But well done to the bowlers."
Kolkata captain Dinesh Karthik was relieved after his side managed to break the long losing streak. "I think at the end of the day it's about making your processes are right. As much as it sounds like a cliche, that's all you can do in a sport like this. At the end of the day, it's just a game. A lot of bickering can creep in and I'm aware of that.
Despite all the controversy around, Karthik was all praises for Russell. "Terrific. He's a special player for us. He's special in this tournament. The way he's responded to different situations, he's shown maturity and I was just telling him that."
Hardik Pandya, on his stunning knock, said, "Lucky today, everything was coming off. To be honest, with this kind of total, you don't think much. Go out there, hold your shape, express yourself. I knew I couldn't take time. I just wanted to go out there and enjoy myself, and if I got out, so be it, because the situation demanded it. If you have confidence, it makes a huge difference."
--By A Cricket Correspondent