Rinku earned a new moniker ‘lord’ from his teammate after he smoked five successive sixes in the final over to take his team home in the last-ball thriller at the Narendra Modi stadium. Rinku remained unbeaten on 48 off just 21 balls, hitting as many as six maximums in his whirlwind knock.
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“It was a nail-biting finish, extremely happy that we won the game. Our coach has always said that we can score 200 on any given day. Honestly, the wicket was quite good to bat. When the target is 200, you can’t have silent overs. I was just trying to execute my plans,” Iyer said after the match.
“Me and Nitish had a good partnership. Unfortunately, somewhere we lost our way but Lord Rinku saved the day. To be honest, we still believed that we could win. This teaches us that we should never give up until the last ball.”
Iyer said the victory will be a “great morale-booster” for the team.
“We want to make winning a habit. I haven’t been in great form. Tonight, I went out and played as late as possible. The bowlers were quick and I tried to use their pace, and that worked to my advantage,” said Iyer, talking about his 55-ball 100-run stand with KKR skipper Nitish Rana (45) for the third wicket.
Gujarat Titans‘ stand-in skipper Rashid Khan, who took the first hat-trick of the season, also praised Rinku for playing an outstanding innings when all odds were stacked against his side.
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Rinku came in when KKR needed 56 off 30 balls, but Rashid’s hat-trick almost sealed the game in the favour of Gujarat Titans.
However, the left-handed batter did not give up, hitting five sixes off as many balls from Yash Dayal in the final over after hitting Josh Little for a six and a four in the final two deliveries of the penultimate over.
“It’s a tough game for us, especially for me as a captain. You need 30 plus in the last over, the same thing happened for us last year when we won. We will learn from it, more importantly a good game of cricket and the fans would have loved it. It was more about what he is most comfortable with, to trust his (Yash Dayal) plans,” Rashid said.
“Rinku played unbelievable shots and credit goes to him for the way he played and for the way he finished. Keep it simple, hit the right area consistently and that’s what T20 is all about.”
Rashid said at times even scores of 250 are not safe with his side losing the game on Sunday evening having scored 204/4 batting first.
“As a bowler I’m always trying to hit the right area. We got what we wanted. We wanted 190 and we got 200.
“As a bowling unit we got enough to defend, but sometimes in T20 even 250 does not look good. Take positives from this, it’s still early in the competition and learn from it,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)