IPL: Rinku was outstanding, says KKR skipper Shreyas

MUMBAI: Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Shreyas Iyer on Monday lavished praise on Rinku Singh for showing “outstanding” calmness under pressure, calling him an “asset” for the team. Singh smashed an unbeaten 23-ball 42 studded with six boundaries and a six as he and Nitish Rana (48 not out) chased down a 153-run target with ease for a seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals.

“I was talking to my teammates in the dressing room and was like, the way he’s maintaining his calm even in such pressure situations playing his second or third game, it’s outstanding,” Shreyas said during the post-match presentation ceremony.

“Building that partnership with Nitish Rana in that situation, it’s something we have to praise about and he’s a great asset for the future in the franchise. “The way he has given starts right from the first game, he doesn’t look like a newcomer in the team.” Shreyas also praised his bowlers, especially veteran Umesh Yadav (1/24) and Sunil Narine (0/19) for consistently producing the goods for KKR.

“Right from the powerplay when our bowlers conceded just 36 runs and took a wicket, it was just the start we needed,” he said. “We have been talking about Umesh right from the start. He has increased his pace, bowls those hard lengths and as a captain you just have to give him the ball to deliver.

“Whenever I give Sunil Narine the ball, he gets me wickets, but the batsmen don’t take chances against him. He is very economical, but when he gets a wicket, he gets a big one.”

One area where KKR has struggled is the opening slot and Shreyas said they will have to address the issue. “We are looking for a good start. I love pressure, but it sweats a lot of me to build the innings in every game.” Rajasthan captain Sanju Samson blamed his batting unit for not being able to accelerate in the end. “I think the wicket was a bit slow and they bowled really well, but with the batting we have I would have liked to score a few more boundaries at the end. I think we were short 15-20 runs,” he said.

“With the bowling and fielding we showed some real fight. The body language and energy was amazing. I think we could have batted a bit better.” If there’s one thing this side knows, it’s to fight.

“I think you have to keep on assessing the game and who is batting with you. Wickets at intervals, that’s what stopped myself to keep going with momentum. When I wanted to go hard, they bowled really well and we couldn’t execute our shots.” Samson also said he had “a niggle in the last few games.” “But I’m recovering well and (my back) is fine. It was a great effort (in the field).”