There have been a lot of speculations around Andre Russell’s fitness and game readiness for the Kolkata Knight Riders since he made his comeback from his one year doping ban. He didn’t that impressive a PSL season this year in which he made his comeback, after the IPL auctions. Hence, KKR had received heavy criticism for retaining him as no one was quite sure about how Russell would shape up in IPL 2018.

However, all of those speculations and doubts were put to rest in as early as the second match of the season for KKR as the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai got hit by a terrifying Jamaican Hurricane, in the form of Andre Russell.

The Chennai Super Kings were dominating the match at their home ground. They had reduced KKR to a mere total of 89/5 inside 10 overs. The visitors from the eastern part of India still had half-way to cover and that was exactly when Russell walked out to bat.

It took him only the second ball of his innings to make his intentions clear as he drilled an over pitched delivery on the off-stump from Shane Watson straight through the cover region for a boundary. However, he mixed caution with his aggression as he tried to get his eye in and settle down at the crease for the next two overs.

Then came the 14th over of the innings when the Hurricane decided to take off. A flat and powerful six over long on off Dwayne Bravo’s bowling gave quite an idea about what was coming next. Shardul Thakur was the next to suffer as the big Jamaican smashed him for two sixes in the 15th over.

The highlight of Russell’s innings was the way he took on his West Indies team mate Bravo in this match. He bowled the 18th and 20th overs of the innings as well and Russell muscled him for a total of five sixes in those two overs. Two of those came in the 18th over while another three came in consecutive first three deliveries of the 20th over.

Russell brought up his fifty with a six over deep cover off Watson’s first delivery of the 19th over. He went on to smash another 38 runs in the next 10 deliveries as his show of brute power kept on going till the end.

His innings—an unbeaten 88 of just 36 deliveries—consisted of 11 humungous sixes and a solitary four as he took his team past the total of 200 which looked impossible when they had lost half of their side for just 89 runs inside the first 10 overs of the innings.

This knock was a prime example of Russell’s ‘never-say die attitude’. Many people term Russell as a batsman who likes to slog only and has no real technique and class. However, this knock proved how versatile a player he is. He settled down first and then started the carnage in the final six overs. He didn’t try to over-hit deliveries or tried to hit good deliveries out of the ground for sixes.

Instead, he took a calculative approach dispatching the bad balls over the ropes and playing out the good deliveries cautiously to nullify their threat. His knock was as much about class as it was about brute power and force. This was also Russell’s fourth IPL fifty and highest score in the tournament since 2012.

Although KKR went on to lose the match by five wickets, courtesy a late blitz from Sam Billings and a couple of quick cameos from Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo, this innings will go down in IPL history as one of the best.