KKR needed 29 runs of the last over bowled by Yash Dayal. Umesh Yadav took a single off the first ball after which Rinku clobbered the GT left-arm pacer for five sixes in a row to pull off an incredible and almost miraculous win for Kolkata.
Set to chase 205 in the day game of the double-header, Gujarat lost Rahmanullah Gurbaz (15) and N Jagadeesan (6) cheaply. However, ‘Impact Player’ Venkatesh Iyer (83 off 40) and KKR skipper Nitish Rana (45 off 29) added 100 runs for the third wicket to lift Kolkata. Iyer was brilliant, smashing eight fours and five sixes, while Rana struck four fours and three sixes.
The excellent partnership was broken when Rana chipped a delivery from Alzarri Joseph to mid-off. Iyer also fell to Joseph, looking for a big one. Rashid Khan then claimed a hat-trick, dismissing Andre Russell (1), Sunil Narine (0) and Shardul Thakur (0). At 155/7, the game seemed completely in Gujarat’s grasp until Rinku stole the show.
Earlier, Gujarat Titans batted first and put up 204/4 in their 20 overs. Wriddhiman Saha fell for a run-a-ball 17, while Shubman Gill made 39. Sai Sudharsan impressed again, scoring his second successive half-century. He contributed 53 off 38 balls to set up the innings for the final flourish. Vijay Shankar then played a fantastic hand to push GT past 200. He hammered an unbeaten 63 off 24 balls with the help of four fours and five sixes. For most part of the chase, it seemed like Gujarat had enough, but Rinku was spectacular on the day.
Reflecting on the unbelievable win, KKR skipper Rana said, “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. 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.”
He added, “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.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent