Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) head coach Andy Flower praised Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batter Rinku Singh for his stupendous knock in a losing cause. The Zimbabwe legend went on to describe the cricketer as someone hungry for success and humble at the same time.
Rinku, who has been exceptional with his death hitting in IPL 2023, gave LSG a real scare in the match on Saturday, May 20. Chasing 177, KKR were in big trouble at 120/5. However, Rinku clobbered 67* in 33 balls to lift his team. Eventually, Kolkata went down by only one run.
Speaking in a post-match press conference, Flower hailed the aggressive left-handed batter and commented:
“He looks like a really talented guy, but he also looks like he is hungry for success and humble at the same time. He is confident in what he can do. He’s got a really good package. There’s so much batting talent in this country. But, he’s showing that he can do it when he’s under pressure and that’s a key aspect to playing international cricket. He’s got a future.”
Sharing his views on the KKR batter’s stunning counter-attack on LSG bowlers on Saturday, Flower admitted that the 25-year-old batted out of his skin. He said:
“Rinku played out of his skin again to get them that close. And it was a matter of not making the obvious error in those last few overs. He batted beautifully, he batted brilliantly. We didn’t quite hit our straps at the end. But then Naveen [Ul-Haq] and Yash [Thakur] were doing quite a tough job bowling multiple overs in a row at the death. They came through in the end.”
Praising Naveen and Thakur for their bowling efforts in IPL 2023, Flower added:
“Both of them have been brilliant for us this season. Yash, as a young guy coming through in his first IPL season… I knew him when he was bowling in the nets at Punjab Kings. To see him do so well and so brilliantly under pressure, it’s really wonderful.
“Lot of respect for Rinku for the way that he played, but it was brilliant by our guys, including our captain, to get us through.”
While Naveen has claimed seven wickets in as many matches, Thakur has picked up 10 scalps in eight games.
“He made the difference” – Flower on Pooran’s half-century
Even as Rinku grabbed the limelight for his stunning knock, Nicholas Pooran also made a huge impact, smashing 58 off 30 balls. The knock lifted LSG from a precarious 73/5 as they finished on 176/8. Praising Pooran, Flower said:
“He’s been sensational for us. He made the difference today [Saturday]. It takes a lot of confidence in yourself to hit balls that early in your innings – the way he has hit them for us in a few really important innings.
“It’s been wonderful to have him remaining in our dugout for that last section of a 20-over innings. He’s getting greater clarity on his game each time I see him.”
Pooran has hammered 358 runs in 14 matches at an average of 32.55 and a strike rate of 173.79.