Ishan Kishan - The pocket dynamo conquers the stage
MI were in a spot of bother against RCB. Chasing 202 for victory at the Dubai International Stadium, they had been reduced to 16/2 and further 39/3.
A young 22-year old Ishan Kishan who walked out to bat in his first game of the season got off the mark with a boundary on the first ball. An over later, he sent the fielders fetching as he sent the ball sailing over long leg. He continued to show his resilience and reached his half-century but the fall of wickets from the other end wasn't making it easier for him. However, once Pollard took off, he too joined the party and started going out all-guns-blazing.
With 17 runs required off the last four balls, Ishan hit back-to-back maximums which even made Rohit applaud in adulation. However, he fell one short of what would have been a spectacular hundred. An innings of 99 (58) but disgruntled because he couldn't end up on the winning side even though Pollard took the match to a Super Over.
The journey from promising to excellence
Here's a man who had been touted as a future star ever since he shot to fame after captaining the Indian team to the finals of the U-19 World Cup back in 2016. Despite not having a great season in 2019, his team had backed him to the hilt. He stood there and batted like a dream. It wasn't a one-off innings as he went on to score four half-centuries in the tournament. The skipper mentioned that Ishan had been given the license to go out and play with freedom.
His flexibility batting at different positions showed his willingness to excel with the bat. At a time when the captain had injured himself, many were worried about the balance of the side. In walks Kishan and launches himself straightaway against the CSK bowlers who already had a less total to defend. Next match when Quinton got out early and Suryakumar started attacking, he showed maturity and took a backseat. He tried to anchor around and kept value for his wicket.
Later when Rohit was back, Kishan happily went back to his position and continued to score runs at an agonizing speed. In a team that has big hitters like Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, he ended up with the most number of sixes with 30 hits out of the park. The way he paced his innings and felt valiant enough to hit any bowler for a maximum displayed his shrewdness with the bat.
Who would've thought at the start of the tournament that Ishan would be leading the run-charts for MI this season? Especially after not even being the part of MI's starting XI in the tournament. When MI lost early wickets, he batted with complete responsibility. At the same time, he also finished games for them and batted with astute confidence. While MI already had a strong batting lineup, Ishan's presence in the middle order made them seem invincible.
In the first Qualifier as well as the Final of Dream11 IPL 2020, Ishan stayed unbeaten. In the former, he helped his team reach a good total with a half-century while in the showdown, he remained unfazed without any kind of pressure and comfortably took his team across the finish line.
The Road Ahead
Throughout the season, he was a valuable asset for the team especially due to his flexibility. Ishan has come off age finally and the only way for him is up at this point. The youngster has presented strong fundamentals as a batsman and managed to impress many with his aggressive intent in the middle.
Ishan mentioned that his goal was not only to represent his nation but to serve them for a reasonable period. Ever since MS Dhoni retired, there has been a battle for the wicketkeeper's spot in the side. With Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson already in the fray, Ishan Kishan's splendid show this season has put him in the reckoning for the same.
He is a special player in the making and the upcoming years will be integral in determining where his career goes from here.