Gowtham wins it for Royals in clutch finish
All-star of the match
K Gowtham was bought by Rajasthan Royals for INR 6.2 crores (USD 968,000 approx), 31 times his base price of INR 20 lakh (USD 31,250 approx). That exorbitant multiplication was preceded by several terrific defensive bowling performances for Karnataka in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy ahead of the auction. Teams bid fiercely for him also because of his hard-hitting ability.
With the ball, he finished with 0 for 20 from three overs. But his major contribution came with the bat. He walked out at the fall of Heinrich Klaasen's wicket, off the first ball of the 18th over. At that point, Royals needed 43 off 17 balls, with Jofra Archer, on IPL debut, at the other end.
Here is how his innings unfolded. Ball 3: a muscled six over midwicket off Mustafizur Rahman. Ball 4: a thick outside edge past the keeper. Ball 6: a sliced cut past backward point off Jasprit Bumrah. Ball 7: a skewed hoick past square leg for four. Ball 9: a carved cut past short third man for four. Ball 11: smashed over midwicket to complete a spectacular comeback.
The wow moment
With 10 runs required off five balls, Gowtham knew it was him against Hardik Pandya when Archer was dismissed off the first ball of the final over. He then sliced a wide yorker past short third man for four, leaving Royals with six to get off four balls.
Off the next delivery, he drove a full delivery to cover and refused the run, even though it would have taken Royals closer to the target. He was aware the run would have given No. 9 Jaydev Unadkat the strike. Instead, Gowtham backed his ability and smashed the next ball over midwicket to seal a thrilling turnaround win.
- Gowtham's 11-ball 33 was equivalent to 52 Smart runs - one of ESPNcricinfo's new metrics to make sense of T20 cricket. Essentially, his innings was worth 19 more runs when seen in the context of the scoring rate of the batsman at the other end and the overall scoring rate of the game. No other batsman had such a telling impact on the match. Suryakumar Yadav's 47-ball 72 came the closest. His effort at the top for Mumbai was worth 11 extra runs.
- Royals scored 43 runs in their last 16 balls, the second-most runs scored in the last three overs to beat Mumbai in a chase.
- In 27 innings, Gowtham has a T20 strike rate of 164.97. He has also scored two fifties.
"On top of the world. I had a decent first-class season with the bat. My captain said 'believe', and that's what I did. No nerves on turning the single down. Just needed six off three balls, one good hit, that's all I was thinking."
K Gowtham in a post-match interview
"You little ripper @gowthamyadav88. Well done buddy - just awesome to watch & congrats to all the @rajasthanroyals boys"
Shane Warne, on Twitter
Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo