Defending champion Gujarat Titans made a surprise call by naming uncapped pacer Darshan Nalkande in the starting XI against Chennai Super Kings during the IPL 2023 Qualifier 1 match at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday.
Nalkande, who did not feature in a single league stage match this season, replaced left-arm seamer Yash Dayal as captain Hardik Pandya mentioned the change in the XI after opting to bowl at the toss.
Taking the new ball for GT, Nalkande produced a mistimed chip from CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad to mid-wicket off his third delivery in the second over. However, the ball was deemed a no-ball after Nalkande overstepped the popping crease. The young seamer was then dispatched for a six by Ruturaj off the free hit before being hit for another four, conceding 14 in his opening over. He ended up with figures of one for 44 in four overs after removing Ajinkya Rahane.
Hailing from Maharashtra, Nalkande represents Vidarbha in domestic cricket.
The right-arm pacer made headlines in the 2021-22 edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy when he picked up four wickets in four consecutive deliveries in the semifinal against Karnataka. Nalkande became the second Indian to reach the landmark in T20 cricket behind Abhimanyu Mithun, who had achieved the feat for Karnataka in 2019.
Nalkande, who was part of the Punjab Kings setup since the 2019 season, eventually made his IPL debut with the Titans last year. He featured in two matches, picking two wickets while conceding 59 runs across two matches. Nalkande picked up two wickets of consecutive deliveries - Jitesh Sharma and Odean Smith - on his IPL debut against Kings, his former franchise on April 8, 2022.
Overall, Nalkande has scalped 57 wickets in 34 T20 matches with a career-best of 5/9. He also has 34 List A wickets besides a solitary wicket from three First-Class appearances.
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