Rajasthan Royals shelled out a massive Rs 6.20 crore for Krishnappa Gowtham – 31 times his base price at the IPL auction in February. And the Karnataka man gave justice to his price tag in a high pressure situation on Sunday night, leading his side to victory with an unbeaten 11-ball 33 blitz against Mumbai Indians.
Henrich Klassan’s dismissal for a golden duck at the start of the 17th over brought the Karnataka man to the crease. Mumbai were firmly in control with RR needing 47 from 17 remaining balls. A single later, Gowtham survived an early scare, mistiming a slog over midwicket, eventually landing safe between cover and deep point. However, the 29-year-old found his range on the next ball, smashing Mustazifur Rahman to over midwicket for his first six. Luck again favoured Gowtham on the final delivery; the ball found the toe-edge and ran down for a boundary towards third-man, bringing the required runs to 28 from the final two.
The 19th over brought tipped the scales in favour of Royals, much like it did for Chennai Super Kings in the opener. Jofra Archer smashed seven of the first two delivery – a no-ball from Jasprit Bumrah assisting the cause. Gowtham followed it up with two boundaries of his own – a flashing square cut towards point and an inside-edge going past square-leg. Bumrah’s final over yielded 18 runs.
RR lost Archer from the first ball of Hardik Pandya’s over but their all-rounder brought the game home in emphatic style. The second delivery was along expected lines, full outside the off-stump and Gowtham managed to manoeuvre his bat to ramp the ball over the short third-man fielder. Six needed off four and he refused a single on the following delivery. He took it upon himself to finish the game, and did so by pulling Pandya’s short of a length ball over midwicket.
When asked about his superb ramp shot over third-man, Gowtham said: “I expected him to go for a yorker because the last ball he bowled was a bouncer. So I expected a wide yorker and as he had those fielders (point and third man) in, I thought, let me wait for it and I just played the shot. That’s about it.
“We do practice all this stuff. When you’re batting No. 7 or 8, you’re expected to get these kinds of deliveries and I’ve done this kind of practice much before the tournament and yesterday as well. So yes, I’d practiced and premeditated it would be a yorker. But it wasn’t a yorker, it was a length ball, I might have gone straight.”
It was much needed win for Rajasthan Royals after their dismal performance against Chennai Super Kings in the previous game. Mumbai Indians however have lost their fourth game of the season – all four being the final over and leaves them languishing at the bottom of the table.
For K Gowtham, it was a day of redemption. He put down Surya Kumar Yadav at long-on in the first innings and the opener went on to score a half-century, adding a three-figure stand with Ishan Kishan. He produced an economical three overs with the ball, but it was his bat that stood out an exhilarating day at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.