Ahmedabad, Apr 09, 2023, IANS
Ahmedabad, April 9 (IANS): In IPL 2022, Rinku Singh had smashed 40 off just 15 balls for the Kolkata Knight Riders and was on the verge of scripting an unlikely win against Lucknow Super Giants in their last league game. But a stunning catch from Evin Lewis on the penultimate ball of the game resulted in his dismissal and Kolkata ending on the losing side.
Cut to April 9, 2023, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The last over started with KKR needing 29 runs for an unlikely win against Gujarat Titans. After Umesh Yadav took a single off Yash Dayal, carnage followed as Rinku smashed five successive sixes on the last five balls, leading an improbable heist for Kolkata.
Rinku, unbeaten on 48, attributed his miraculous knock to immense self-belief. "I had the belief that I can do this. (Nitish) Rana bhai said to keep the belief and to bat till the end, then we will see what happens."
"I was just trying to hit sixes. (Umesh) bhaiya was asking me not to think much and just play the ball. I was not thinking a lot, was just reacting to the ball. It kept coming out of the middle, I had belief and it came off in the end," he said after getting the Player of the Match award in the post-match presentation ceremony.
The belief 'n Rinku's six-hitting abilities was also endorsed by Kolkata captain Nitish Rana.
"We had belief because Rinku had done something similar last year, although we did not win. After the second six, we started to believe more because Yash Dayal was also not executing well."
"This result, though, is only down to Rinku and his brilliance. People asked me why Rinku does not play a bigger role. If this is his secondary role, then imagine what he can do in a primary role. I do not have words to describe Rinku's innings."
Rana also felt that a team gets wins like this in a very rare scenario, where the game had many twists and turns.
"You win one out of a hundred matches this way. We were bowling well for 18 overs but did not bowl well towards the end. Same in the batting department where we allowed Rashid and GT back into the game."
Venkatesh Iyer, who almost single-handedly won Kolkata the match with a sparkling 83, was left in awe of Rinku's thrilling finish, which he feels will inspire the team in future matches.
"We lost wickets then but thankfully Lord Rinku saved the day. He (Rashid) is a world-class bowler. We still felt we could win the game, though, and that we could chase anything. This teaches us a lesson that we should not give up until the last ball. It will be a great morale booster for us."
"Winning is something we want to create a habit of. It was a nail-biting finish and extremely happy with the way we won. Our coach has maintained that we can score 200 from any position. Tonight was another example that we will never give up as a team."
Iyer, not in the best of form in recent times, came in as an Impact Player for Suyash Sharma and smashed eight fours and five sixes at a strike rate of 207.5 in a knock where he middled every ball he faced till he fell, apart from a century-stand with Nitish Rana.
"The wicket was quite good to bat and I was just trying to execute my plans. When the target is 200, you cannot have silent overs. Me and Nitish had a nice partnership and that set the tone. In the first game, we were a little unlucky. I am really not surprised that we have scored 200 in these last two games because of the role clarity that has been given to us."
"I have not been in great form but tonight, I just wanted to go out there and execute my plan of playing late. When the bounce is good, you tend to hang back and use the pace. Their bowlers were quick so I tried to use their pace and it worked to my advantage."
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