The first week of IPL 2019 is over and we have had some spectacular performances already. The likes of David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, and Andre Russel played some brilliant, match-winning innings in the first week and put the tournament on fire. Also, there were some good bowling performances by Imran Tahir, Rashid Khan, and Kagiso Rabada.

However, it would be fair to say that batsmen provided more entertainment than bowlers, in the first week.

David Warner, who has just returned after the ban, is the ‘Orange Cap’ holder after scoring 254 runs at an average of 127, courtesy scores of 85, 69 and 100*. His contributions at the top of the order have played a huge part in keeping Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) among the top three teams on the points table. However, despite scoring 95 runs less than Warner, Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) Andre Russell is our ‘Star of the Week’.

Pics: Andre Russell dazzles as KKR down KXIP

Russell scored 159 runs from three innings at 79.50 with a strike rate of 248.83 in the first three matches. He also took five key wickets for his team.

Before the start of the tournament, the majority of the fans and pundits picked the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle and other destructive top-order batsmen as favourites to win the ‘Orange Cap’, but Russell has surprised one and all with his hitting and more importantly consistency. Considering the position he bats at and the number of balls he gets to face in an innings, 159 runs in three matches is a Herculean effort by the Windies all-rounder.

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He has scored 20 (or more) runs in an over thrice in IPL 2019 already, and with15 sixes to his credit, Russell is also the number one batsman in the list of ‘most sixes in IPL 2019’, after the first week. His teammate Nitish Rana, Warner, and Chris Gayle are behind him on the list with 10 sixes each.

Russell’s impact in the first week of IPL 2019 was bigger than any other player in the tournament.

Three in three

1st match: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad

In the IPL’s 11-year history, no team had ever chased more than 52 runs in the last three overs of a game, but Russell made it possible. KKR needed 53 off 18 balls and Russell took his side home with two balls to spare. He smashed 49 runs off 19 balls and played one of the most thrilling, entertaining and destructive cameos in the history of Indian Premier League.

Russell also took two wickets for 32 runs in three overs.

2nd match: KKR VS Kings XI Punjab

In the second match, Russell got lucky when he was bowled by Mohammed Shami on three, but the umpire signalled a no-ball and free hit because there were a lesser number of players inside the ring. Russell made full use of this opportunity and scored 48 runs off 17 balls. He smashed eight successive boundaries in that innings.

In addition to this, Russell also took two wickets in his three overs for 21 runs.

3rd match: Delhi Capitals vs KKR

Russell came out to bat when KKR were five down for just 61 runs. Without any pressure, Russell wasted no time in getting into his zone and scored 62 runs off 28 balls, including six gigantic sixes and nine boundaries. KKR lost the match in the ‘Super Over’ but Russell almost pulled it off for his team.

Three matches, three solid performances. Dre Russ is our ‘Star of the Week’.