Kolkata, May 9 (IANS) Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Nitish Rana was pleased to hear the Eden Gardens crowd chant “Rinku, Rinku” and said that fans’ enthusiastic cheers demonstrate the level of recognition the left-hander has received for his outstanding performance in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).
Chasing 180, Kolkata needed two runs off the last two balls, Rinku provided yet another sensational finish with a four off the last ball to win a thriller for KKR against Punjab Kings.
Hailing Rinku at the post-match presentation, KKR skipper said: “I just keep telling him, ‘believe in yourself because what you have achieved is something not many people will achieve in their life. If you can do that, you can do anything’. When he was batting, the whole crowd was chanting ‘Rinku, Rinku’. That is what he has earned this year. I got goosebumps.
“I’ve been at this franchise for the last few years now, I’m used to the Eden crowd screaming ‘Russell, Russell’. But to hear them shout ‘Rinku, Rinku’ makes me feel very happy. That’s the respect he has earned this season.”
A collective batting effort from KKR saw Rana lead from the front with a crucial knock of 51 off 38 before Andre Russell (42 off 23) and Rinku provided the final flourish to win the fifth match of the season for KKR.
Speaking about the KKR’s performance in the match, Rana said Venkatesh Iyer was struggling a bit with his injury and they had a chat about trying to take a big over from here or there.
He went on to applaud Russell for his knock and mentioned that it has been 10 matches or so and he kept telling Russell that he will get them a big win.
When I was batting, I wanted to hold one end. Venky had a problem with his ankle so we were trying to get one big over here and there. 10 matches have gone, we were all waiting for that one Russell innings to come. He was one innings away, I kept backing him saying you have done a lot, and you will 100% win us a game.
“This pitch was a feel of home advantage as well. Our bowlers bowled badly at the death, I was angry that we conceded that many because this was a 160-165 run wicket.
The win took KKR to fifth in the 10-team standing and got a new life to their challenge for a playoff spot.