NEW DELHI: Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh heaped praise on Kolkata Knight Riders drummer on Thursday Rinku Singh. Harbhajan, who played 103 Tests, 236 ODIs and 28 T20Is for India, said an Indian call-up is not far off the mid-level explosive hitter.
“That Indian cap is not far from Rinku’s head. He’s such an inspiring player. He raced all the tough yards and worked really hard to get to where he is today. I owe him all the deserves to have that confidence in him. His journey is a life lesson and all young children should learn from him,” Harbhajan Singh said during a speech on Star Sports’ Cricket Live.
IPL 2023: Kolkata take on Rajasthan under pressure at Eden Gardens
Rinku has played 11 games in the IPL 2023 so far and has scored 337 runs at an average of 56.17. He hit with an astonishing strike rate of 151.12, including two half-centuries.
Kolkata Knight Riders, who are due to face Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens on Thursday, have 10 points from 11 games so far, winning five games. They still have two games in hand against Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants as they fight for a place in the Playoffs.
KKR vs RR IPL 2023: Kolkata take on Rajasthan, aim to enter top 4
A resurgent Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will seek their third straight win in their fight for survival when they face a struggling Rajasthan Royals (RR) in an IPL match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
Facing inescapable scenarios, the two-time champions showed tremendous resilience to bounce back from their victories over Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings, both in spectacular last-ball finishes.
The wins not only lifted their sagging morale, but also lifted the team from eighth to sixth in the points table. As it stands, four teams, including KKR and RR, are locked on 10 points in a mid-table traffic rush for the playoffs.
RR may be ahead of net run rate (NRR), but the equation could change quickly if KKR continues its winning run, as a victory for either team will put them in the top four.
While KKR are very confident after two thrilling wins, the Royals are said to be at rock bottom after three defeats. The Royals had posted a tally of over 200 goals but were thrashed by confusing strategies in two of their three defeats, which led to an inescapable storyline for them as well.
In terms of key battles and team strategies, KKR would once again rely on Varun Chakravarthy, who was the central character in their two previous wins. After defending nine points in the last over against SRH, Chakravarthy’s 3/26 made all the difference against the Punjab Kings.
At a time when their seasoned slow bowler Sunil Narine is struggling to get wickets, Chakravarthy has spearheaded KKR with 17 wickets so far this season. While the KKR think-tank refuses to let go of Narine who has only one wicket in the last eight matches, it is Chakravarthy’s four overs that would once again be crucial.
With the KKR team management not contesting the Shardul Thakur World Test Championship final against PBKS, the pace department seemed woefully short of experience.
It remains to be seen whether KKR will use the services of an “in-form” Shardul in the deciding game. Against batting full Royals with the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson in fine form, KKR will be hoping their bowlers pull themselves together.
The biggest bright spot for KKR in their win over PBKS was the return to form of slugger Andre Russell (42 carries on 23 balls). The Jamaican was at his best when he demolished Sam Curran with three sixes in a 20-point penultimate game.
While skipper Nitish Rana has been the backbone of their hitter, Rinku’s emergence as a finisher is going well for the team.
From the Royals’ perspective, the trio of Rana, Rinku and Russell would be their main threat. Their battle against Royals spin-bowling stalwarts Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal in the middle of the overs could prove decisive.
Rinku played a vital role in the IPL 2023 and KKR hopes he will continue to shoot in the remaining matches as well. KKR must win the game against the Royals managed by Sanju Samson, who have lost four of their last five games. A loss to KKR will affect the Rajasthan Royals’ playoff prospects.
Former Indian cricketer Mohammed Kaif also praised Rinku for taking his game to the next level with his scintillating maturity in the tournament.
“Rinku Singh has that maturity. His footwork is very good and he is also looking to rotate shots. Rinku knows how to convert his form into good shots and also knows when to change gears. He is also capable of hitting big shots . ” said Kaif.