"It's just a game." Kolkata Knight Riders bowler Vinay Kumar has taken to Twitter to ask people mocking him to ease off.
On Tuesday night in Chennai, Vinay was given a tough task by rookie KKR captain Dinesh Karthik. Having not bowled since the first over of the chase, in which he conceded 16 runs, Vinay was given the responsibility of defending 16 in the final over against Chennai Super Kings.
Vinay did not have form on his side: his two overs in his first game of the season - against RCB at Eden Gardens - had gone for 14 and 16 runs. He was bowling to an in-form Dwayne Bravo, who in his previous innings had won CSK a match against Mumbai, which even the captain MS Dhoni thought had been lost.
A partisan Chennai crowd chanted, "Bravo, Bravo" as Vinay began the over around the wicket, a tactic another death bowler - Mumbai's Jasprit Bumrah - had done in the CSK's last game without success. The idea seemed to be to bowl at the base of leg stump to prevent Bravo from lofting over extra cover, but Vinay bowled a high full-toss that Bravo hit for six over long leg. The umpires erred in calling it a no-ball for height as well, and the seven runs off that illegal delivery cost KKR the match.
Vinay had now failed twice in the job given to him: to bowl the first and the last over of the innings. After the game, he trended on Twitter in India until well into Wednesday afternoon. With the game being played in the backdrop of protests around the Cauvery river water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Vinay, who is from Karnataka, was prime fodder for jokes that said he was the compensation Karnataka were giving Tamil Nadu.
A little after 2pm on Wednesday, Vinay responded on Twitter: "Hey guys take it easy, it's just a game. Where were you all when I defended 9 runs against RCB and 10 runs against Mumbai Indians!! Sometimes things do go wrong so CHILL...."
Vinay was spot on with examples of previous successes. On April 4, 2013, while playing for RCB, he was asked to defend 10 runs off the final over against Mumbai Indians, who had seven wickets in hand. A year later, in Sharjah, now playing for KKR against RCB, Vinay was asked to defend nine runs in the final over against AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel. He delivered on both occasions.