Having reduced Rajasthan to 94 for five in 13.3 overs defending 172, the match was firmly in Kerala's grip. But skipper Rajesh Bishnoi, who was ably supported by Divya Pratap Singh, turned things around dramatically for Rajasthan to help them clinch the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Super League-cum-Knockout match at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground yesterday.
Rajesh Bishnoi. Pic/Suresh KK
Bishnoi's 75 off just 36 balls and Singh's unbeaten 27 in 18 balls simply left Kerala stunned, and the duo put on nearly 80 in seven overs to give Rajasthan a memorable three-wicket win with one ball to spare.
Bishnoi's calculated risk worked to perfection. He waited for the right time to explode and targeted the 15th over bowled by Prashanth Parmeswaran. He took 15 runs off it and reduced some pressure on his team. That over unsettled the Kerala attack and there was no looking back for Rajasthan.
"We had the self belief that we could do it. I knew their bowlers did not have the experience to bowl at the death. One big over would have made them nervous and forced them on the back foot. We did just that. The main thing was self belief," said a delighted Bishnoi.
He made full use of the life given to him by substitute VA Jagadeesh who dropped a sitter at midwicket off Rohan Prem. Bishnoi was batting on nine then.
"I knew it was my day after that dropped catch. I think it was a crucial miss. I wanted to capitalise on it," said Bishnoi, who works as a helper in North Western railway.
Earlier, Sanju Samson and Rohan Prem made batting look easy with Kerala posting 172 for three in their 20 overs.