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Sunday, April 9, 2023

Rinku's day out in the Park - it rained Sixers !!!

In the past few days, have seen some posts criticizing IPL not to be a real game – a gambling den et al .. ..  those who understand and who love Cricket for so many decades know the truth.  We grew up watching  Andy Roberts bowl and Gundappa Viswanath playing a classic innings at Chepauk – IPL may be big hitting ! – yet has a great flavour and has provided so many youngsters the rarest of rare opportunity to brush shoulders with International players and a platform to showcase their talent.  There have been so many who got the limelight and today it is a rustic guy from Uttar Pradesh !! 


That drives home another point – that some often write that there are no players from Tamil Nadu in Chennai Super Kings – please remember that this no regional jingoism, but Club Cricket of a tall order.  Teams are picked up on best possible combinations – the compositions have to keep in mind the foreign players (4) and rest of them picked around to make it formidable.  

Today, a lad from Uttar Pradesh who had earlier been a showpiece mostly in fielding – used to come on field at every possible opportunity and do lot of running in the outfield, some good catches, hard flat throws and .. .. today he made people talk about him – “Rinku Singh” – who ??    

Sometime back there was a  video on Knight Riders' Twitter handle of coach Brendon McCullum using Nitish Rana as an interpreter when talking to Rinku – today he showed that he need not need any language or interpreter as he let his bat talk !! – for sure, all of us who saw, would keep on talking about it for years to come.  It was 29 off the last over and then 28 off 5 .. .. and the carnage followed – Rinku Khanchand Singh, born in 1997, in UP – a left hand bat was crowned.   

A couple of years ago, he had been suspended by BCCI for 3months for taking part in an "unauthorised" T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi.  It was  Ramadan T20 Tournament, organised by Abu Dhabi Cricket   in which Rinku led his team Deccan Gladiators to the title by smashing a 58-ball 104 and then picking up two wickets against New Medical Centre.  But BCCI was not pleased and initiated disciplinary proceedings.  

For me, it looked to be a match for Gujarat Titans right from the start though Hardik Pandya was indisposed and out of action.  Rashid Khan led the team.  Gill and Sai Sudharsan took Titans to 100 in the 12th over, then came  Abhinav Manohar at No. 4 who hit a few good shots.  Sai Sudharsan played very well – he hit sixers of    Narine and Varun but when he got out, Titans were 159 for 4 after 18 overs. Vijay Shankar had not performed that great in the past but today was different.  He smashed two fours and two sixes off Lockie Ferguson before launching three successive sixes off Shardul Thakur. The last two overs of Titans' innings produced 45 runs; 41 of those came from Vijay's bat.    

KKR had to chase 205, a tall score – and with Rashid Khan’s crucial hat-trick the match had been sealed but Rinku dreamt otherwise. Chasing 205, Kolkata Knight Riders' Impact Player Venkatesh Iyer and   Nitish Rana kept KKR in the chase adding 100 runs 9.1 overs. Alzarri Joseph dismissed both, and then Rashid Khan picked up a hat-trick to kill the contest.   Knight Riders needed 39 off eight balls, Rinku was on 8 off 14. He hit the last two balls of the 19th over, bowled by Josh Little, for a six and four.  .. .. commentator said, it has come too late, with a repartee that wonders have taken place !! 

The last over started with little hope as 29 was required – no team had chased so many in the last over in a T20. The ever smiling Umesh Yadav took a single of Yash Dayal and it boiled down to 28 off 5 balls – only faithful were seeing the match !!  


The 2nd delivery was a full toss outside the off and hoisted over wide long off for a 6; 3rd Rinku got inside and pushed it over deep backward square – 2 sixers in a row yet 18 needed of 4 !!  then with too many people offering advices Yash presented an easy full toss, clobbered for another 6.  In mad max frenzy, the 5th too disappeared for another six and now with just 4 needed, it looked mostly KKR way, yet, it had to be completed. Rinku made it too memorable by hitting that too for a 6 – 5 continuous sixers, and a match won !!!    

Rinku had lived in dire adversity, having been born in a lower middle-class family in Aligarh, with his father eking out a living delivering LPG cylinders. Around 2015, when they had run up a debt of INR 5 lakh, Rinku was playing for Uttar Pradesh in the Under-19s, and had started saving up from his daily allowance to help repay it.   

Today he became a Maharaja with all media focus on him and poor Yash Dayal had figures of 4-0-69-0.   If one were to ask, is that tough to bowl one good delivery, well, it happens and there were too many offering advice to the bowler and before the final moments, Jayant Yadav and Rashid Khan were seen talking animatedly to him.   Yash Dayal born 1977 too is from Uttar Pradesh.

With regards – S Sampathkumar

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