Cricketer Rinku Singh’s match-winning performance in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Gujarat Titans (GT) has left the country’s cricket fans and experts in awe.
With KKR needing 29 from the final over to win, Singh scored five consecutive sixes in Ahmedabad on Sunday to seal a thrilling victory for his side and shoot to instant stardom.
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“I had a feeling I will do something special for my team today,” Singh said in an interview after the match.
Former and current Indian cricketers took to social media to praise his performance, with India captain Rohit Sharma calling it an “unbelievable innings”.
IPL is truly a place where talent meets opportunity.
Unbelievable innings, Rinku! 👏
And tough luck Yash, one to learn from.
— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) April 9, 2023
The little-known batter from the north Indian city of Aligarh was born into a low-income family and grew up helping his father transport gas cylinders on a motorbike.
He was picked up by film star Shah Rukh Khan’s KKR in a player draft for 800,000 Indian rupees ($9,759) in 2018 and has been earning a steady income which he says has helped uplift his family.
“We had never seen such a huge amount of money before [the IPL contract],” he told local news channel India Today.
So happy for Rinku Singh, one of the most hard working cricketer i have known. He is from Aligarh, very modest family background. His first season with UP team was my last.
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) April 9, 2023
“[The money] has helped me build a house for my family and solve all their financial problems.”
Khan, who co-owns KKR, called the 25-year-old after the match to congratulate him.
“He is such a big star. When he called me I wasn’t able to say much,” Singh said.
Khan was joined by KKR’s captain Nitish Rana in praising the match-winning player.
“This is Rinku’s world and we are all living in it,” he tweeted.
Thank you sir for your kind words. But in all honesty, this is Rinku’s world and we are all living in it 😅💜 https://t.co/9MgHOrcbhI
— Nitish Rana (@NitishRana_27) April 9, 2023
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar hailed Singh’s batting as “something special”.
“Enjoyed the last few moments. This amazing game continues to teach us that it’s not over till it’s over,” he wrote on Twitter.
A match that went down to the wire & continued shifting momentum.
One felt Rashid’s
hat-trick was a game-changer but Rinku’s power-hitting was something special. Enjoyed the last few moments. This amazing game continues to teach us that it’s not over till it’s over.#GTvKKR pic.twitter.com/m8k05ZGcNS
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) April 9, 2023
Just watched highlights of the Kolkata game. Rinku OMG. 🤣🏏
— Usman Khawaja (@Uz_Khawaja) April 10, 2023