India batter Rinku Singh credited legendary former captain MS Dhoni for helping him stay calm in crunch situations, which he showed in ample measure during his knock in the first T20I against Australia here.
Rinku played the role of a finisher on Thursday, hitting the winning runs in the final over and handing India a two-wicket victory.
“As for my secret to calmness, I had discussions with Mahi (Dhoni) bhai about what he does to stay calm, especially in the last over,” Rinku was quoted as saying in a BCCI video after Thursday’s win.
“He (Dhoni) told me to try to remain as calm as possible and try looking straight (at the bowler). That’s how I tried to stay calm in the game,” he said, though he did not mention when the discussions with Dhoni happened.
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Chasing a stiff target of 209, India was reeling at 154 for 4 in the 15th over when Rinku walked in.
With skipper Suryakumar Yadav being at the other end to support him, Rinku stayed calm and played smart cricket by rotating the strike and attacking the loose deliveries.
The 26-year-old Uttar Pradesh batter remained not out on 22 off 14 balls, hitting four fours at a strike rate of 157.14.
“Feeling good that we won. My only aim was to be perfect when I walked out to bat, and it felt good out there to be playing alongside Surya. I was thinking of doing what I generally do in crunch situations and was trying to stay as calm as possible,” he added.
With a single needed off the final delivery, Sean Abbott was deposited into the stands for a six by Rinku, but it turned out to be a big no-ball. Hence, the six was not counted, but only the run off the no-ball was considered.
“I didn’t realise it was a no-ball until I heard it from Axar bhai in the dressing room. Although the winning six won’t be considered, it doesn’t matter; we won the match, that’s what matters,” he said.
Rinku came into the spotlight in the Indian Premier League. Initially roped in by Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) for IPL 2017, he has been playing for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) since 2018.
He did well in the IPL 2022 and drew eyeballs in the 2023 season for hammering five sixes in an over versus Gujarat Titans.
His IPL numbers read 725 runs in 31 matches at an average of 36.25 and a strike rate of 142.16, with four half-centuries.
Eventually, he earned his Indian team call-up in August during the Ireland T20I tour.
So far, he has batted in just three T20I matches, amassing 97 at an average of 97.0 and a strike rate of 194.0.
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