Virat Kohli’s behaviour on a cricket field has the knack of dividing opinions. Some reckon it’s infectious and energises his teammates, while others believe his ultra-aggressive antics are unnecessary at most times.
Russell, who plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders, had a phenomenal IPL 2019 where he scored 510 runs in 13 innings. He got four half-centuries in that season but the knock that was, perhaps, his most devastating was the 13-ball 48 he got against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
In that match, RCB batted first at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru and posted a solid total of 205/3 thanks to Kohli’s 84 and AB de Villiers’ 63. In reply, KKR were in deep trouble when their skipper Dinesh Karthik perished with the team needing 53 runs to win off 18 balls. And that’s when Russell went berserk, smashing seven sixes and a four to take his team home with five balls to spare.
Russell has now revealed what triggered the carnage that night was the manner in which Kohli celebrated Karthik’s dismissal. The right-hander said that he knew at that moment that he was going to go hard at the RCB bowlers.
“Dinesh Karthik got one boundary or two then he got out. He hit the ball and I think Kohli took the catch [Yuzvendra Chahal was the one to take the catch]. Kohli turned to Venky (KKR CEO Venky Mysore) where all the wives and KKR supporters were and he is like ‘come on’. When I looked up, like something triggered in my head like, hell no this is not over,” Russell said in an interview on Knights Unplugged.
“When Shubman Gill walked out, I said ‘hey listen, I am gonna take down anybody that bowls’. Anyone who comes on I am gonna take them down. So just try to give me as much strike as possible. He said, ‘anything you say big man’, Boom. Since then, the game, it was like six after six and every time I was hitting a six I was not even looking at the scoreboard because sometimes you get carried away with the crowd and everything.
“Every time after hitting a six I would go to Shubman, punch the gloves with him and go back to take as much deep breath as possible, that allows you to become calm. Looking around is like a waste of energy,” Russell added.