On Sunday in a must-win match, Russell walked out to bat at number 5 after Mumbai Indians had successfully built up the pressure on KKR. Russell fell to Lasith Malinga for a first ball duck and the Knight Riders eventually lost the final league match of the season by 9 wickets.
Andre Russell had spoken of his desire to bat higher up the order. He was sent in at number 3 against Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens and had played one of the most destructive IPL innings in recent years. After the 9-wicket defeat and elimination, Dinesh Karthik defended the decision to hold Russell back.
“There was an opportunity to bat up the order for Andre Russell, but expecting him to deliver every time is unfair and he has been fantastic throughout the tournament for us,” Karthik told the host broadcaster.
Kolkata Knight Riders failed to reach the playoffs for the first time after 3 years and Dinesh Karthik promised to come back stronger in 2020.
“This was not our best season. There are a lot of areas for us to improve on, and I’m sure we will come back stronger next year,” Karthik said.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma wanted his men to stay focussed at the business-end of the season. MI, like Chennai Super Kings, are eyeing their 4th IPL title.
“All the three trophies we have won, we’ve come good at the business-end. IPL is a funny tournament, we just have to be at our best on a given day. We want to cross the finishing line, but there are a few steps we need to take first,” he said.