Apart from half-centuries made by Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav playing a pivotal role in India securing a thrilling two-wicket win over Australia in the T20I series opener, Rinku Singh also played an instrumental hand in victory with an unbeaten 22 off 14 balls.
While chasing 209 successfully, India lost Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh on third, fourth and fifth deliveries of the 20th over. With just a solitary run needed off the final ball, Rinku lofted Sean Abott over long-on for six.
But replays showed it was a no-ball and that was enough to get India the victory. Even if it was not a no-ball, Rinku’s six would have still got India over the line safely. Once the game was over, heart-warming scenes took over as Rinku embraced Abhishek Nayar, his assistant coach from Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, who was on ground as a broadcaster for the hosts’.
Dinesh Karthik, the veteran India wicketkeeper-batter who was at Kolkata during IPL 2018, took to X to share about the crucial role of Nayar in shaping Rinku during the duo’s time in the IPL for Kolkata. “It was a partnership that started in 2018 during my time in KKR. Nayar always saw the potential in Rinku, he kept telling me, it was only a matter of time before he did something really special.”
“Coming from a small town in Aligarh, all he needed was to think big , and I think that shift in mindset was what Nayar worked with Rinku majorly about apart from fine-tuning his death hitting skills,” wrote Karthik.
He also recalled how Nayar helped Rinku get over the tough times. “Even during the time he had an ACL injury, nayar convinced @VenkyMysore sir who gracefully accepted Rinku to be part of the team and made him travel and stay with KKR.”
“He stayed in nayars house post IPL for many months for Rehab and started working on his batting and had a stellar domestic season and then eventually did what Nayar and KKR always thought he could do, a match winning finisher."
“And today when I see this photo , I just feel like Nayar as a coach has grown in stature and can share the happiness he feels for Rinku along with the rest of the world . Must be a surreal feeling seeing one of your students do well at a world stage and also be lucky enough to watch it live as a broadcaster and call the moment”
India now have a 1-0 lead in the five-match T20I series against Australia, with the second game to happen at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.