It was important to step up, says Man-of-the-Match Russell

KOLKATA, India, CMC – West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell said yesterday it had been important to play his role as a senior member of the Kolkata Knight Riders side, after helping them beat Rajasthan Royals and inch closer to Sunday’s Indian Premier League final.

  The Jamaican smashed an unbeaten 49 from 25 balls with three fours and five sixes as KKR rallied to reach 169 for seven from their 20 overs at Eden Gardens.

He returned to produce a miserly three-over spell which cost just 22 runs as Royals were restricted to 144 for four, handing KKR a convincing 25-win.

“I think it is good to take responsibility as a senior player. I don’t mind smashing and finishing the innings off and then come and bowl the first over,” said Russell, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match.

“It was a good game for all of us. As I said, every game from here on is a final and we cannot take anything for granted. It is going to be a new game with a new ball and we will have to start on the front foot.”

Russell has had a mixed tournament, his first since serving a year-long drugs whereabouts ban. He blasted an unbeaten 88 from just 36 balls in his opening game before his performances tailed off, leaving him with just 57 runs from his last six innings.

However, the 30-year-old stressed the importance of producing in the crucial playoff match.

“We know how important this was and it feels good to have contributed with the bat and the ball,” Russell explained.

Referring to his clean hitting he added: “I think it is just a clear head. You get a short ball, you get a slower ball or a wide ball, you try to play a shot accordingly.

It is about having a still base. I try to swing hard and believe in my ability.”

Russell and KKR will face Carlos Brathwaite’s Sunrisers Hyderabad today, in the final playoff fixture.

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