Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) win over Gujarat Titans (GT) in Ahmedabad during the IPL 2023 was a miracle. With 29 runs to get from one over, no one expected KKR to win. However, Rinku Singh, the diminutive left-hander, achieved the impossible with poise and skill, making a mockery of all the plans the defending champions had. Even though he was small in stature, he displayed power and timing that left everyone in awe.
Rinku Singh has been an impact player for KKR earlier too, but this year his contribution has been telling. He played a significant role in KKR’s 81-run win against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), scoring a 33-ball 46. However, it was Ahmedabad on Sunday where Rinku Singh became IPL folklore.
With 39 needed off the last eight balls of the match, Rinku hammered Josh Little for a straight six and then added a boundary to end the 19th over. Umesh Yadav got a single off the first ball of the 20th but KKR needed 28 more to win. No one was ready for what happened next. Rinku began with six over covers off a full toss, then ramped the next full toss for six more.
GT was in a quandary, and advice flowed in for Dayal from all fronts, even as Rinku looked calm and serene. Another full-toss followed and this one was the best shot of the lot, sailing over covers again. Two balls and ten runs still to get. It could still be won by GT. But no one was stopping Rinku Singh. The next ball was on length and was sent flying through the on-side sky, and with another four to get, the left-hander hammered the last ball straight down to complete five consecutive sixes, a score of 48 not out off just 21 deliveries with six sixes and one boundary, with a strike rate of 228.57.
Miracle is a word often loosely used, but in cricket, this was possibly as close as one could get to one. No one in the KKR ranks would argue that. The GT-KKR match was quite a humdinger even without the final over. Vijay Shankar finished off for GT in a manner that belied his normally calm demeanor while Sai Sundershan once more showed his caliber. Stand-in skipper Rashid Khan pulled off yet another T20 hat-trick when KKR went in to bat, and the target of 205 looked very remote indeed. Impact player Venkatesh Iyer and skipper Nitish Rana’s heroics notwithstanding, KKR was always behind, especially as they lost Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Shardul Thakur of successive Rashid Khan deliveries.