‘Ireland loss was a big wake-up call’ – Russell
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That was Andre Russell’s performance in the 13 balls he faced at the end of the West Indies innings in Christchurch. Had he got a tickle on those four leg byes, and had the dot been called a wide as it might well have been – it was a high bouncer – he might have been on track for the fastest fifty in ODI history.
As it was, he had to settle for an unbeaten 42 off 13 balls as West Indies plundered 89 in their final six overs. Russell followed that up with three wickets in his team’s record 150-run victory over Pakistan, and not surprisingly, he was named Man of the Match for the fifth time in his 45-match one-day international career.
“It’s a very good feeling to contribute big to the team and getting the Man-of-the-Match award,” Russell said after the match. “At the end of the day, it’s the other contributions from the other guys. The way we batted we didn’t get the start we wanted.
“But the guys in the middle kept it together and set the innings perfect for me to come and do my thing. It just goes to show we’re a good team, and playing as a team you’re always going to get the job done if everyone contributes.”
Pakistan’s bowlers had no way of restricting Russell, whose four sixes flew off the bat at serious speed, and a flat crunch down the ground for four off Wahab Riaz was also struck fiercely. When he came in, West Indies were 259 for 5; when he finished they were 310 for 6. Russell said the circumstances were almost ideal for his style.
“It has a lot to do with the situation,” Russell said. “I can bat if there’s 20 overs still left to go, but I think I really enjoy when there’s five overs or 10 overs left. I can come out and just play my natural game. It’s not like I have to be cagey. Especially being over 250 runs. I can just come and play my natural game from there.”
The win has placed West Indies in a much stronger position after losing their opening game to Ireland, and they will hope to build their confidence further when they take on Zimbabwe in Canberra on Tuesday. Russell said the mood in the camp was encouraging after their first win of the tournament.
“It’s very good. Everyone is laughing, happy,” he said. “It’s just always a fun dressing room, and I think from the last game things didn’t go well for us, and we just turned up today and wanted to show the world that we are not just a pushover. We are always a good team and we can fight. It happened today, so it was a very good performance.”