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Rinku Singh: Fire In The Belly, Belief In The Heart

May 21, 2023 09:12 IST
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IMAGE: Lucknow Super Giants players congratulate Rinku Singh for his 67 blitz that alas went in vain. Photographs: BCCI

Kolkata Knight Riders lost the match at the Eden Gardens by a run, Lucknow Super Giants thereby booking a place in the play-offs.

The game would not have us on the edge of our seats had it not been for the man who answers to the name Rinku Singh.

The 25 year old, with fire in his belly and belief in his heart, came to the middle when KKR, chasing 177 for victory, were staring down the barrel at 82 for 3 in 10 overs.

Rinku took his time to get off the blocks and played watchfully. He got a lifeline when he was dropped by Ravi Bishnoi -- the leggie putting down a return catch. That drop nearly proved costly for LSG as Rinku scored all around the pitch.

That the LSG bowlers bowled tight lines and made the most of a track offering assistance delayed Rinku's shot-making.

With 41 needed off 12 balls, Rinku had enough of the restraint and smashed Naveen-ul-Haq for three consecutive fours and then a 110 metre-long six to bring up his half-century with a flick off his pads.

Naveen, whose figures read 0 for 26 in 3 overs before that, finished with figures of 0 for 46. With 21 needed off the last over, Rinku could not put the final touches and KKR fell one run short.

Batting at a strike rate of 203, Rinku hit 4 sixes and 6 fours to finish 67 not out off 33 balls. He scored all around the wicket with 15 runs coming through square leg and 14 runs in the covers.

Ravi Bishnoi finished his impressive spell with 2 for 23

IMAGE: Ravi Bishnoi finished his impressive spell with 2 for 23.

LSG's bowlers did a fine job to rein in KKR after their openers got off to a flyer.

Once Venkatesh Iyer was dismissed by Krishappa Gowtham, KKR found it hard to strike at the same rate. LSG spinners put the noose around the batters as KKR kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Ravi Bishnoi took his 100th T20 wicket taking out Nitish Rana.

The KKR scoring rate pummelled and wickets fell at regular intervals leaving Rinku to play saviour once again -- only this time he wouldn't be able to repeat his feat against the Gujarat Titans when he scored 28 runs in the final over for victory.

Nicholas Pooran scored 58 off 30

IMAGE: Nicholas Pooran scored 58 off 30.

LSG were boosted by some big hitting after their batters also faced problems of their own in the middle overs. They were reduced to 73 for 5 in 10 overs before Nicholas Pooran went after the bowling.

Pooran scored at will while keeping the singles and twos coming. He made his intent clear from the start and once he had his feet in, he danced down the ground and clobbered the big runs, while making KKR bowlers and fielders dance to his tunes.

He swept, pulled, went straight back over the bowlers and drilled ball through the infield to keep the runs flowing. He stitched a 74 run stand with Ayush Badoni and brought up his half-century in 28 balls before getting out for 58.

His innings consisted of 4 fours and 5 sixes and that took LSG to what was eventually a match-winning total.

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