A ‘perfect day’ for KKR’s hero Shardul

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) coach Chandrakant Pandit was happy with rookie spinner Suyash Sharma’s “fighting attitude”, saying it was very difficult for rival batters to pick the 19-year-old from Delhi.


Suyash made a huge impact in his debut IPL game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, picking up the prize wickets of pinch-hitter Dinesh Karthik, Anuj Rawat and tail-ender Karn Sharma as KKR thrashed Faf du Plessis’ side by 81 runs here on Thursday night.

“We have seen him (Suyash) at trial matches. He is very quick in the air, and it’s very tough to pick him. It’s just the inexperience; but he showed a fighting attitude,” said Pandit after the match.

The former India cricketer also complimented the batters for showing the courage to fight back and post a 200-plus total after they were down and out at 89/5, with Shardul Thakur smashing a 29-ball 68.

“It’s a good win. The boys have shown the character. Looking at the initial stage, having lost wickets, and coming back to get 200-plus. We just expected the pitch to help the spinners. But you require enough runs. Shardul and Rinku Singh (46 off 33) counter-attacked the opposition,” added Pandit.

KKR captain Nitish Rana said the plan was to put pressure on the rival batters in the middle overs and Suyash had come in handy.

“Even today, we collapsed (to 5/89), and credit to (Rahmanullah) Gurbaz (57 off 44 balls). It was an unbelievable innings from Shardul Thakur. People will talk about Shardul, but Rinku (Singh) held one end up, as we had planned.

“We had always planned not to give RCB batters pace in the middle overs. Suyash, playing his first match, bowled brilliant balls. Not even we have got to know him so far. He backs himself. It was always our plan to add him if we needed a third spinner,” added Rana.

‘Player of the Match’ Shardul himself was surprised with the power he packed in his strokes, smashing nine boundaries and three sixes.

“Even I don’t know where it came from. Looking at the scorecard, everyone would have said we were struggling. But your subconscious mind takes over. You also have to have skills to do that at the higher level, but we also work hard in the nets.

“Coaching staff do the throw downs, and give us the option of range-hitting. And you know the pitches; they always suit the batsmen, don’t they? This was a perfect day,” he said.   

RCB captain Du Plessis said his side lost the plot after keeping KKR batters under pressure till the 13th over. He also indicated that his batters need to improve against quality spinners.

“We had it set up there in the 12th or 13th over… It was probably 20-25 runs too much. Shardul played well. Their leg-spinners got on top of us. It was still a good wicket… but the nature of mystery spinners is that they get wickets. They put the squeeze on us.

“We were pretty average with the bat. You learn lessons. Two or three days ago, you played brilliant cricket. It got away from us,” added the South African.

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