Incredible! Unbelievable! Shocking! These were the words to describe the destructive innings by Jamaica Tallawahs new captain Andre Russel that led to an improbable victory against the Trinidad and Tobago Knight Riders (TKR) on the second day of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) at the Queen’s Park Oval last Friday night.
TKR had set a record-breaking total of 223 for six in their first turn at the crease, only to see the destructive Russell, who was on the rampage hitting 13 monstrous sixes on his way to the fastest ever CPL century off just 40 balls to successfully chase the highest ever CPL score of 223 for six.
He beat the previous record of 11 sixes held by Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis.
Russell captured a rare hat-trick to literally steal the show and the game away from the TKR.
The sell-out 18,000 crowd at the Oval, who was dancing when the Tallawahs were reeling at 41 for five, became quiet as they saw their team heading for defeat.
The cheering fans were stunned after Russell took the attack to the TKR bowlers and scored and amazing unbeaten 121 off 49 balls.
Russell was dropped off the first ball by Ali Khan — a difficult running catch — The TKR found Russel impossible to bowl too and the bowlers had to watch as the balls flew over the boundary.
In the meantime his batting partner Kennar Lewis looked on as Russel stole the show to power his team to victory with three balls to spare. Lewis had scored 52 runs and was out when his team had needed 22 runs of the last two overs to win the game.
The game was still in the balance with 53 runs required from the last 24 balls when Russell took 20 from the 17th over bowled by Bravo and 17 from the next over from Fawad Ahmed.
TKR captain Dwayne Bravo came under assault as Russel struck him for 22 runs and he blasted Jason Searles for 18 runs in one over.
By then the Tallawahs had needed 16 from the last two overs which Russel put to put to bed in the final over when he cleared the ropes at long-on off Sunil Narine.
Russel was coming into the game with fastest ever century at the CPL against the same opposition in 2016, but went two balls better with his century.
He was involved in a world record six-wicket stand with Lewis. Their stand bettered the previous best sixth wicket of 126 by Calum MacLeod and John Hastings for Durham against Northern in the Natwest Blast of 2014.
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan had traveled all the way from India to see his very own players put tears in his eyes, as Twenty20 star Russell who plays for his other team the Kolkata Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) score a dramatic win over TKR. Khan is the franchise holder for the TKR.