One of the major reason behind Rajasthan's recent success has been Riyan Parag Das. Time and again this tournament, the 17-year-old has shown maturity and level-headedness that belies his age both with the bat and ball. He has played just four games this season and almost on every occasion has made some sort of a contribution.
In the encounter against Mumbai Indians at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Riyan crafted a crucial 29-ball 43 and along with his captain Steve Smith helped lay the foundation for Rajasthan's five-wicket win. Then on Thursday night against Kolkata, he once against forged 47 in just 31 balls in difficult conditions to take his side to the doorstep of a win. He showed a wide array of stroke play which included a mini helicopter shot off left-arm pacer Yarra Prithviraj.
In an interview with Varun Aaron for iplt20.com, Riyan said that the shot came instinctively at the time and there was no real inspiration behind it.
"There is no inspiration behind that, I have played that before in state matches as well. I was waiting for a short ball, he bowled a length ball and I just went for it," he said. "There wasn't any inspiration, or I hadn't even practiced for the shot. Just came instinctively."
Riyan also found himself involved in a unique dismissal when, going for a pull, he lost his balance and hit his bat on the stumps. He had done most of the job by that time before Jofra Archer finished proceedings with a four and a six in the final over.
"As soon as I hit the shot, I hit the bail with my bat and I knew I was out so I kept on walking," said Parag on his dismissal. "We (Archer and him) were talking just very positive things and I was very confident on Archer finishing it and he did it in style."
Riyan's calm and confident demeanour has impressed even the likes of Smith, who after Rajasthan's win over Kolkata, said that the 17-year-old had taught a lot of the more experienced players a few lessons with the knock.
"He's a terrific young kid," Smith said. "He works very hard, he's a fit and strong young kid. The way he batted, even in the first game that he played, he taught a lot of the experienced players a few lessons, including myself."
A statement such as that coming from one of the best batsmen in the game is huge but those that have followed Riyan's fledgling career will not be one bit surprised by the youngster's tenacity and grit. He was selected for the 2018 Under-19 World Cup but a broken finger sidelined him for the first two weeks of the tournament. However, he still played in the latter half with a heavy strapping on his finger and managed to pick 2/6 in four overs against Pakistan in the semi-finals paving way for a famous Indian win.
Touted for greater things, Riyan's influx in an otherwise floundering Rajasthan middle-order has been huge and Smith will hope the youngster continues his all-around show in the coming matches too.
Another talking point during Rajasthan's win at Eden Gardens was Aaron's terrific knuckle ball that swung back sharply into Shubman Gill to catch the batsman's leg stump. Speaking about the delivery with Riyan, Aaron said that he had been practicing that delivery for a while and was glad it came out well on the day.
"I have been bowling that for a while now, it is just that it came out really well tonight and it obviously was a very important game for us on a big stage," the pacer said.
"It has been something I have been dong for a while and it is noting own for me. I am glad it came out really well and got the bail of his (Gill) leg stump."
First Published: April 26, 2019, 1:14 PM IST