Rajasthan Royals’ incredible four-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab at the Sharjah Cricket Ground on Sunday was a match filled with individual efforts. For KXIP, Mayank Agarwal scored his maiden IPL century and was ably supported by his captain KL Rahul with a half-century. In reply, RR were guided by some fabulous batting by Sanju Samson, captain Steve Smith and Rahul Tewatia, all of whom scored half-centuries.
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As RR pulled off the highest successful chase in the history of the IPL, the run-fest in Sharjah will always remain memorable. However, amid all the run-scoring, a near unbelievable fielding effort by KXIP’s Nicholas Pooran has sent people in a frenzy.
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In the eighth over of Royals’ chase, Pooran pulled off a fielding effort, to be honest, quite like no other. Yes, it was that good. Players securing a catch and throwing it back into the in-field before landing inside the boundary is not new, but wait until you see Pooran’s version of it. The West Indies batsman, who had already starred with the bat, hitting 25 off eight balls, with three sixes and a four, produced a remarkable bit of fielding – that many are calling ‘gravity-defying’ – to deny RR and Samson a six.
Here’s who it panned out. Third ball off the eighth over, Murugan Ashwin bowled it short and Samson was quick to latch on to it. However, as the ball seemed to be clearing the boundary, Pooran, stationed at long-on, went backwards, leapt in the air, caught the ball and moments before thudding on to the ground, threw the ball back just in time. It may sound regular, but the visual effort will make your jaws drop.
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KXIP’s fielding coach, Jonty Rhodes, widely considered the greatest fielder of all time, could not hold back his excitement from the dugout and lauded Pooran’s efforts with claps. As expected, Pooran’s fielding effort won the hearts of several current and former cricketers, including former India batsman and captain Sachin Tendulkar, who called it the ‘best save seen in his life’. Now that’s quite something coming from someone who’s played international cricket for nearly 25 years.
“This is the best save I have seen in my life. Simply incredible!!” Tendulkar tweeted.
Tendulkar’s long-time opening partner for India, Virender Sehwag, who has represented KXIP in the past, was blows away by the piece of fielding.
“Gravity naamak cheez hi bhula di. Aisa kaise. Defied Gravity, Pooran. What a save.”