Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Nitish Rana played down talks of young Suyash Sharma being a “mystery spinner” as he termed him as a normal leg-break bowler but with an x-factor.
The little-known Delhi U-25 spinner, who played only white-ball cricket at the age group level, before being snapped at the auction this year, formed a deadly combination with Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy in KKR’s comprehensive win against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in an IPL 2023 game.
“Suyash is no mystery spinner,” the KKR skipper clarified at the post-match media interaction.
Also read: IPL 2023: KKR rout RCB at Eden Gardens
“He is a normal leg-spinner. But he has an x-factor because of his very high arm speed with an orthodox action, so it’s very difficult to pick him.”
Included as Impact Player in place of Venkatesh Iyer, Suyash grabbed 3/30 as KKR spin trio grabbed nine wickets among them to shoot out RCB for 123 in 17.4 overs in their big chase of 205.
Playing in front of a capacity crowd of about 67,000, Suyash looked confident.
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Sporting a headband to keep his flowing mane in check, Suyas has some uncanny resemblance with Indian Olympic gold medal-winning javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra. He has a quick run-up, as batters looked tentative against the youngsters.
“He’s also very quick through the air. You will be in trouble 100 per cent if there’s a little bit of doubt while batting against him. He will improve game by game,” Rana said.
RCB got off to a flier before KKR’s old warhorse Narine (2/16) gave first the breakthrough taking the prized-scalp of Virat Kohli before Chakravarthy (4/15) ripped through the middle order.
“I knew Suyash would do well but I wanted to bring in Sunil in the Powerplay and then Varun and both of them gave breakthroughs. It was very important to take wickets in the middle,” he said about his ploy to employ Suyash in the back end. “Varun comeback was very important for us. He didn’t perform well last season, but he is bowling well this time,” he also hailed Chakravarthy.
Lord Shardul exceeded expectations
Put in, KKR were tottering at 89/5 in 11.3 overs after Afghanistan keeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz (57) and Andre Russell (0) got out in successive deliveries.
Then KKR No 7 Shardul played a counter-attacking 68 from 29 balls to turn it around for them.
“I was always confident of his batting ability as an impact player but his stroke-making exceeded my expectations. If your all-rounder bats in such a way, and turns around the game single-handedly, what else does a captain want?” Rinku Singh played the second fiddle in the century-plus partnership with a handy cameo of 44 (33b).
Rana was seen talking to Rinku during the strategic break as he played a selfless knock and missed a half-century by four runs.
“His innings was very important. I’m pretty close to him so I was telling him to stay till 19-20th over. I knew he can hit sixes in any ball.”
On Rinku playing second fiddle on most occasions, he said: “I don’t think he thinks a lot about it, what matters most for all of us is to have that “W” attached to our side. Winning is most important.
“He’s a bindaas (carefree) person and keeps everything simple without complicating. Our first objective is to win every match.”
Waited a long time to play at Eden
This was KKR’s first match at home Eden Gardens in almost four years with previous seasons hit by COVID-19.
“We waited for a long time to play here. having played before COVID-19 here. I know how vociferous the crowd can be. I couldn’t have given a better gift to the fans than this win,” the skipper concluded.