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This article was first published 1 year ago  » Cricket » Top Performer: Thakur, Knight in Shining Armour

Top Performer: Thakur, Knight in Shining Armour

Last updated on: April 07, 2023 12:28 IST
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IMAGE: Shardul Thakur hits out during the IPL 2023 match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Photograph: BCCI

Shardul Thakur played the innings of his life to power his new team Kolkata Knight Riders to a thumping 81-run victory against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL match on Thursday, April 6, 2023.

KKR will be thrilled by their smart business in the trading window as they acquired Thakur from the Delhi Capitals for a whopping Rs 10.75 crore (Rs 107.5 million) instead of waiting to buy him at the auction.

And all-rounder Shardul repaid KKR's faith with a match-winning effort with the bat.

Shardul has been quite an impactful player for India across formats though he has not enjoyed a long run in the team, but a strong showing for KKR in IPL 2023 could turn around his career at the international level.

Shardul, whose best IPL score before today's game was 29, showcased his batting abilities with a sensational counter-attacking knock of 68 from just 29 balls.

The only person who possibly stole some of Lord Thakur's limelight was the Pathaan himself -- KKR Co-Owner Shah Rukh Khan, who was back at the Eden Gardens after four years.

But KKR fans could hardly take their eyes off the field once Thakur stepped out to the middle. At that stage, KKR were reeling on 89/5 in the 12th over after spinner Karn Sharma had dismissed Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Andre Russell off successive deliveries.

KKR looked all set to finish with a below-par total as four of the top six batters had been dismissed for single digit scores.

But Thakur turned the innings on its head as he went on the attack right from the word go. Thakur was lucky as he inside edged the first ball he faced, from Sharma, with the ball narrowly missing the stumps before going past the wicket-keeper for a four.

In the next over, the boy from Palghar glanced RCB pacer Akash Deep for a four fine on the leg side and carved the next over the covers for another boundary.

In the same over, the pacer bowled a no-ball and the resultant free hit was despatched for a six by Thakur, whose sudden attack seemed to have caught RCB unawares.

Spinner Michael Bracewell was hit for back to back sixes over midwicket by Thakur. He then pulled pacer Harshal Patel for a four over midwicket to race to his maiden IPL fifty from just 20 balls -- the joint fastest fifty in this year's IPL.

He fell in the final over but not before his 103-run stand for the sixth wicket with Rinku Singh had ensured KKR recover after a difficult start to post a huge 204/7 in their 20 overs.

Thakur hit nine fours and three sixes, helping KKR amass 110 runs from the last eight overs. None of the RCB batters could even come close to matching Thakur, who also took one wicket, as the visitors were sent packing for a lowly 123.

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