The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season has seen a huge transformation at the Kolkata Knight Riders. The crowd that used to chant Russell… Russell whenever the big-hitting West Indian would come out to bat, is now chanting Rinku… Rinku. After the pairing of Russell and Rinku won Knight Riders the match against Punjab Kings on Monday, it was Rinku Singh again who hit the winning runs, scoring a boundary on the bowling of death overs specialist Arshdeep Singh. After the game, even Russell admitted that he was in awe of Rinku.

While Jason Roy and Nitish Rana set the tone for Kolkata, Russell and Rinku finished off the chase with blistering knocks. While Russell soared back to form with a 23-ball 43 before being run out in the last over, Rinku hit 21 off just 10 balls to keep KKR in the playoffs race.

When skipper Rana was asked about the message he gave to Rinku, he said: “I just keep telling him, believe in yourself because what you have achieved is something not many people ever will. When he was batting, the whole crowd was chanting ‘Rinku, Rinku’. That is what he has earned this year. I’ve been at this franchise for many years now, I’m used to the Eden crowd screaming ‘Russell, Russell’ but to hear them shout ‘Rinku, Rinku’ makes me feel very happy and proud. That’s the respect he has earned this season.”

Russell, a proven match-winner for KKR over the years, said that Rinku has been taking the pressure off him.

“He had told me what if the ball beats you, should we go for the run? I said for sure, I have faith in him to finish it last ball. I get goosebumps seeing him doing what he’s been doing. I have company at the back end, he soaks the pressure off and he’s been here for years now, a really hard-working guy. He’s very funny outside the field, I try to stay as close to him while we are training. Feeling good, now!!,” said Dre Russ.

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