17-year-old Riyan Parag has certainly made a strong impression in the limited opportunities that has come his way in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019. The Rajasthan Royals wonderkidhas shown tremendous composure in crunch situations and has already played a couple of match-winning knocks in the season.
On Thursday, Riyan Parag was at it again as he top-scored for Rajasthan Royals with a 31-ball 47 to help the team gun down a 176-run target against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.
In front of a 60,000-strong crowd, Riyan Parag held his nerves and wonderfully led Rajasthan’s chase after they lost their star batsmen, including captain Smith and Ben Stokes cheaply.
RR got off to a flyer, thanks to Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson’s aggressive approach at the top. However, KKR spinners Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine struck in regular intervals to leave RR reeling at 98 for 5.
Riyan Parag was handed an early reprieve by Sunil Narine but the youngster did well to make use of the extra opportunity and stitched a 25-run stand with Shreyas Gopal and then a 44-run stand with Jofra Archer.
Riyan Parag hit two sixes and five boundaries and maintained a strike rate of over 150 in Rajasthan’s successful chase.
Parag played a wide range of shots but his helicopter shot against KKR pacer Prithviraj in the 10th over has grabbed a lot of eyeballs. The teengar executed the shot that is commonly associated with MS Dhoni to perfection and fetched a boundary.
However, Riyan Parag said there was no inspiration for the helicopter shot he played on Thursday from MS Dhoni and even revealed he never practiced the much-talked-about shot.
“I just hi it. There’s no inspiration behind that. I have played it a few times in the state matches as well. I was waiting for a short ball but he bowled a length ball. I just went through it. There’s wasn’t any inspiration. I hadn’t prepared for it. I didn’t even practice for it,” Riyan Parag told Rajasthan pacer Varun Aaron during a candid chat for IPLT20.com.
Riyan Parag was disappointed when he got out hit wicket in the 19th over of the chase. In the tense chase, Royals needed 9 runs from the last over but a calm Jofra Archer sealed the deal for the visitors with a four and then a six off the first two balls of the 20th over.
Stressing that Archer and himself had spoken about being positive throughout their 44-run stand, Riyan Parag said: “As soon I played the shot, I hit the bail with my bat, I knew that I was out and I kept walking. But Archer and I were saying positive things to each other. I knew he would finish it and he did it in style.”
Varun Aaron walked away with the Man of the Match award in his first match for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2019. The India pacer bowled with a lot of steam and got the big wickets of Chris Lynn and Shubman Gill with inswingers to dent Kolkata Knight Riders early.
Speaking about the knuckle ball that got Gill, Aaron said: “I have been bowling that for a while now. It came out really well today. It was an important match for us an I am glad it came out really well.”