'In the pantheon of legendary match finishers of IPL' - ex India star lauds Rinku Singh
Even as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ultimately failed to keep their title hopes going with a gutwrenching one-run defeat in IPL 2023 on Saturday (May 20), the cricket world stood in awe of their valiant middle-order aggressor Rinku Singh, who was the knight in the shining armour for the two-time champions this season.
Singh unleashed his great skill and temperament against the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata to ignite KKR's hopes even as the doom stared large on their faces. The youngster blasted an unbeaten 67 off 33 balls to take his side within touching distance of victory in what was a must-win fixture.
It wasn't to be, but the aggressive left-hander managed to reaffirm his talent and promise at the world stage, finishing the tournament with a whopping 474 runs at an eye-catching strike-rate of 149.53, including four brilliant half-centuries to raise calls for his ascent into senior Indian T20I set-up.
While the 25-year-old Rinku Singh has shown range and versatility in standing up to task when required to play a measured anchor on odd occasions, it is his regular end-overs prowess and the zeal to propel KKR past the finish line amidst adversity that has garnered effusive praise.
Harbhajan's huge remarks on Rinku Singh
Among those lavishing the young talent with accolades on the outside is former India lead spinner Harbhajan Singh, who went to the extent of suggesting that Rinku Singh has entered into the "pantheon of legendary finishers" of the IPL with his body of work in this season for the KKR.
The 'turbanator' believes Singh is matching the impact value of KKR's renowned West Indian aggressor Andre Russell and his Caribbean teammate and T20 great Kieron Pollard, becoming an unparalleled asset for the two-time IPL winners, a player they can't take the field without.
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Speaking on Star Sports' IPL 2023 special show 'Cricket Live', Harbhajan also said he doesn't see Singh playing the next IPL as an "uncapped player", backing his prospects of soon donning the Indian jersey, particularly in the T20I side.
"Rinku Singh has put his name in the pantheon of legendary match finishers in the history of IPL. With his incredible performances in this season, he has put himself in the league of legends like Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard," said Harbhajan.
"I salute this exceptionally talented cricketer. He has won millions of hearts with his breathtaking knocks this season and I bow down to him. My best wishes to Rinku and his family. In the next IPL season, he might not be an uncapped player," he added.