Get goosebumps seeing Rinku finish games for KKR: Russell

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08 May 2023 | 06:42 PM staff

Get goosebumps seeing Rinku finish games for KKR: Russell

Nitish Rana also revealed his conversation with all-rounder Andre Russell, who turned his form around

Kolkata Knight Riders have been quite a fidgety team in this year’s Indian Premier League. Every time they have looked like a quality side, they have made rookie mistakes to let the opposition come on top of them. But over the last two encounters, against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings, the Knights have pulled off two perfect games. 

A lot of onus was on Kolkata’s middle-order to pull this encounter off against a good bowling unit in Punjab. KKR’s skipper Nitish Rana set a fine example, taking on the spinners, in a phase that was extremely crucial for the hosts, with a 38-ball 51. But when he walked back, there was disappointment written vividly on his face. 

But at the same time, in the post-match presentation, Rana revealed that he had faith in the two finishers - Andre Russell and Rinku Singh - to take them home in a close encounter. Not just that, the Delhi batter also went to the length, to admit that he gets “goosebumps” just hearing the crowd go “Rinku, Rinku” in a similar tone that was associated with the all-rounder Russell. 

“I just keep telling him (Rinku), believe in yourself because what you have achieved is something not many people ever will. When he was batting, the whole crowd was chanting 'Rinku, Rinku'. That is what he has earned this year,” a quite happy Rana revealed in the post-match presentation. 

“I've been at this franchise for many years now, I'm used to the Eden crowd screaming 'Russell, Russell' but to hear them shout 'Rinku, Rinku' makes me feel very happy and proud. That's the respect he has earned this season,” he had to add. 

While Russell hasn’t had the best of seasons thus far, it was his knock - a 23-ball 42, where he smoked three sixes off Sam Curran’s over, that changed the complexion of the encounter. Rana reckoned that it was only a matter of time before the Jamaican all-rounder got into the groove. 

“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,” Rana had to add on Russell. 

Rinku was yet again tasked with the responsibility of taking the Knight Riders home. In fact, it is not a new prospect for the left-hander, who in the past, has scored five sixes in the final over to take the team home. Not just today, Rinku has been an influential factor in the Knight Riders season, with 337 runs, all striking at 151, to show his worth in gold. 

When asked earlier, Rinku insisted that he doesn’t think a whole lot about these things, and takes it easy. In this year’s IPL, only MS Dhoni has hit more runs in the 20th over than Rinku, with 50 runs, striking at 227.3. 

But Russell, who watched him grow in stature from close quarters, jumped in stating that he too gets “goosebumps” seeing what the southpaw does, day in and day out. Alongside that, the all-rounder also let out a secret, revealing that he was ready to give the strike to Rinku in the last delivery, even though he was the batter on a song. 

“I wanted to finish the game off, but we have a finisher this year in Rinku. (On Rinku) He had told me what if the ball beats you, should we go for the run? I said for sure, I have faith in him to finish it last ball. I get goosebumps seeing him doing what he's been doing,” Russell, who was also named as the Player of the Match said in the post-match presentation. 

“I have company at the back end, he soaks the pressure off and he's been here for years now, a really hard-working guy. He's very funny outside the field, I try to stay as close to him while we are training. Feeling good, now,” he had to add. 

With the win over Punjab, Kolkata find themselves back amongst the mix, with ten points joining a heavy-traffic jam in the middle-half of the table, at No.5. But with three tough games against Royals, Super Kings and Super Giants loading, it might just be the win that puts Kolkata back on track.

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Kolkata Knight Riders vs Punjab KingsIndian Premier League, 2023Kolkata Knight RidersAndre RussellRinku SinghNitish Rana

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