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Rinku Singh: Finisher Extraordinaire?

Last updated on 20 Aug 2023 | 10:01 PM
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Rinku Singh: Finisher Extraordinaire?

The aggressive southpaw carried his IPL form to Ireland, coming up with a Player Of The Match performance

When India announced their squad for the Ireland tour, one of the biggest talking points had been the inclusion of Rinku Singh. Since facing the spotlight for the last time during IPL 2022, the youngster from Uttar Pradesh has become a name that’s resonated with fans of Team India. 

A lot of it has to do with the confidence and humility he exudes in the way he carries himself. A potent potion of success is the result when both those ingredients are mixed in the right amount. His IPL performances made the right noises as he was rewarded with a national call-up. 

Of late, a recurring problem with the Indian team has been a lack of batting depth. A direct consequence of this can be seen in them not being able to accelerate effectively at the death. A long tail has also had an unseen consequence. It forced their top-order batters to put a price on their wicket and play risk-free cricket. 

They had been able to paper over the cracks with Suryakumar Yadav being in scarcely believable form. But that cannot be depended on in the long term. And this is why identifying someone who could handle the batting in the lower middle order before next year’s T20 World Cup was essential.

Talk about being at the right place at the right time. 

He repeatedly bailed Kolkata Knight Riders out with impactful cameos at the death. No one will forget the five sixes he hit off the final five deliveries to pull off a heist against Gujarat Titans. But his bat did a lot more than just that. During this IPL, in the 12 instances of him batting between the 17th and 20th over, he remained unbeaten in half of those innings. Further, he had a death overs strike rate of over 200 in four of those six innings. 

Rinku Singh averages 31.4 and strikes at close to 195 in T20s while batting in the final phase (17 - 20). Even in his T20I debut, fans in Malahide saw him tonk the ball around in the final few overs, scoring 27 runs in just 10 balls in the final phase. 

What’s even more impressive is the way he has taken to finishing duties. Just like his role model - MS Dhoni, Rinku likes to take it as deep as possible before taking the attack to the opposition. 

If we look at how he builds his innings - he starts slowly, striking at below 120 in the first 10 balls. This shoots up to over 150 in the next 10 balls and reaches 190 in the third set of 10 balls. What separates him from the rest of the pack is his ability to remain unbeaten while accelerating. He averages over 30 in his first 20 deliveries and over 50 from 21-30 deliveries. 

If anyone still has doubts over his ability to hit boundaries under pressure, the following stat will put paid to such thoughts. 

At #6, his expected entry point is usually post the 12th over. If we look at his strike rates post his entry point, it progressively goes up with each passing over, reaching stratospheric levels in the final two overs. Rinku scored over 150 runs at a strike rate of 233.8 in the 19th and 20th over when no other batter had hit more than 100 runs.

In fact, after pacing his innings to clinical perfection in a rare successful chase against Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk, MSD had this to say.

"Bohot sahi batting kar raha hai. Jo tu kar raha hai wahi karta reh (You are batting really well. Continue whatever you are doing)"

Coming from arguably India’s best finisher, that’s as big as it can get in terms of praise. 

His performances at the domestic level and IPL showed us his potential. His POTM-worthy performance on his debut innings in T20Is has now shown us that he has it in him to make the jump to international cricket. 

The only issue with the left-hander is his lack of range against spin. He tends to get tied down quite easily against spin and struggles to take them as effortlessly as he would against pace. 

However, with age on his side, Rinku will only improve from here. And Team India fans will be hoping to see him turn into a beast finisher they have been waiting for. 

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