IPL 2019: Gurkeerat 'Man(n)' for RCB

The right-handed batsman from Punjab smashed 65 off just 48 balls to help Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets.

Gurkeerat Mann

Gurkeerat Mann sizzled with the bat for RCB with a timely half-century.   -  IPL

Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Shimron Hetmyer were the stars for Royal Challengers Bangalore as the duo stitched a 144-run partnership for the fourth wicket to salvage pride for Bangalore which finished on 11 points in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

Gurkeerat, who has just played three matches for India so far, turned the tables on the Sunrisers Hyderabad with a quickfire 65 off 48 balls, including eight fours and a six.

Gurkeerat, playing in only his third match this season, said "he just wanted to deliver for my team."

"It’s not pressure, it’s about opportunity, you know. This year I think I played in the IPL after almost two years," Gurkeerat added.

Sunrisers leg-spinner Rashid Khan, introduced inside the powerplay, conceded 10 off his first over with Hetmyer even clobbering a flighted delivery over the cow corner for six. Explaining the strategy, the dup adopted against the star spinner, Gurkeerat said, "I had to anchor the innings and let Hety (Shimron Hetmyer ) play his natural game. That’s what we were focusing on. Whenever I get a ball, I will try to hit a boundary but I will not take much risks and let CDG (Colin de Grandhomme) come in the end of the innings can take them down. Fortunately, we had a good partnership that lasted long."

Walking in at 20/3, with both Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers back in the pavilion, Gurkeerat felt he had enough time to build his innings. "Whenever you go into bat, you have to back yourself and do well for the team. And fortunately for me, I had a lot of overs left, so I could build my innings.  Usually, what happens to the middle-order batsmen is, you go out and have to hit out in the last 3-4 overs when you get the strike. I was fortunate that I went into bat in the third or fourth over. So I had a lot of time in my hands," he noted.

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"We want to be happy and have fun. There is a lot of chirping around, to just keep smiling and play this game for the crowd because they have supported us through the tough time also. Even now, when we play, it is houseful. We just want to dedicate this match to the crowd," he added.

As RCB vs SRH happened

The Punjab batsman originally started as a top-order batsman and wicketkeeper, who would occasionally double up as a net bowler for the Punjab team.

However, when Punjab coach Bhupinder Singh Sr. persuaded him to take up spin bowling seriously, he obliged. In a matter of two domestic seasons, Gurkeerat now a middle order batsman and a handy off-spinner notched up 449 and 677 runs respectively. He also took 41 wickets in his first class career, with best bowling figures of 5/38.

He donned the national colours for the India A series in 2015 returning with match-winning knocks of 87 against Australia and a double century and a five-wicket haul against Bangladesh A.