Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) slumped from 104/3 to 140/7 in the chase against Mumbai Indians, registering a 10-run loss in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 clash, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.
After Nitish Rana kept KKR on song in the chase with his consecutive half-century and his opening partner Shubman Gill scored crucial 33 runs, it was a downward slope for the Eoin Morgan-led side, as they failed to score 31 runs off 30 deliveries.
The poor chase from KKR asked plenty of questions as Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell looked like in the middle of a Test match while they dealt in singles and doubles more often in the death. It was also a second consecutive failure for Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan and Russell with the bat in IPL 2021.
With Russell being a major concern for the side. The swashbuckling West Indies batsman remains just a pale shadow of himself as he holds a tournament strike rate of 182.33 but finding it extremely difficult to time the ball and in the process clear the fence.
He looked out of touch in 2020 as well, struggling with bat, ball and injury. His tally of 117 runs in the previous season was the worst since 2016. Russell's anguish in the testing times is also well visible on his face as he fails to find his rhythm time and again.
It has also put him on the backfoot as in the match against Mumbai Indians, Russell was hesitant to step up and show agressive intent, even though the required run rate was rising.
KKR needs the Russell of 2019 to rise again. He had then made run scoring look easy and often hit sixes for fun. The 32-year-old had scored 510 runs with the high score of an unbeaten 80 at an average of 56.66. He also had a staggering strike rate of 204.81 and single-handedly helped KKR decimate the opposition.
In such testing times, self-belief and taking a leaf out of his past performance, might help Russell regain confidence and benefit KKR from it.
It will also be crucial for Morgan and Shakib to make their bats do the talking. KKR seem to have depth their batting line-up on paper but only a couple of batsmen look to have started the season on a bright note.