Visakhapatnam cricketer KS Bharat has truly set IPL alight with his stroke play this season. In a Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batting lineup consisting of Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, he has found his place. If there were any doubts about him playing at no. 3 for RCB in the playoffs, he has dished them off with his match-winning 78 off 52 balls on Friday night. This innings of his, which consisted of 3 fours and 4 sixes, won him the Man of the Match award.
In the match against Delhi Capitals (DC), he was in scintillating form, scoring on both sides of the wicket, teething into DC’s formidable bowling lineup. A chase that looked close to impossible at one point was made possible by this talented cricketer from Visakhapatnam. Starting off carefully, he first rebuilt the innings after two early wickets and notched up his maiden IPL half-century. Then, once the asking rate started becoming difficult, he let loose.
At the end, when 8 runs were needed off 2 deliveries, Bharat knocked it into the on side and took a second run off a misfield, hence keeping RCB within the spectrum of winning. Then, the pressure got to the bowler who delivered a handsome wide. The next one was a full-toss where Bharat swung hard and eventually cleared the long-on boundary by a whisker. This sent his teammates jumping into elation as he snatched an RCB victory out of defeat.
Talking in the post-match presentation ceremony, KS Bharat said that he is not fazed by pace. “I have been playing for India A for a while now and the bowlers over there have got some serious pace. I have even batted against our premier fast bowlers in the Indian team nets and so, I am used to it now. I have worked hard on my game and I believe nothing comes for free”, said Bharat.
His partnership with Glenn Maxwell, which has chased down totals for RCB twice now, has been one of the highlights of this season. During the post-match presentation, skipper Kohli talked about this partnership and how he always believed Bharat to be the right man for the no. 3 position.
Before this masterful innings, he was seen as a test specialist. But now, he has shrugged off that tag and put his name in the hat for the prestigious wicketkeeper-batsman role in the Indian team. And if KS Bharat can finish every match as he did on Friday night, surely some heads are going to turn towards this cricketer from Visakhapatnam.
This win against DC not only gives RCB a much-needed boost as they head into a must-win Eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders but also plugs the gaps, if there were any, in their playing XI.