Kartik Tyagi
Kartik Tyagi of the Rajasthan Royals in action during the IPL match against the Punjab Kings at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on September 21, 2021. Image Credit: ANI

Heroes are forged every time the Rajasthan Royals play the Punjab Kings. Young Kartik Tyagi is the newest hero on the IPL block. His brave defence of four runs in the final over fetched Rajasthan an improbable win in Dubai on Tuesday.

Tyagi, 20, is the latest in the line cricketers who rose to fame under the spotlights of the Indian Premier League. Rahul Tewatia of Rajasthan and Arshdeep Singh of Punjab too found fame in the IPL cauldron with stirring exploits.

Unlike Tyagi and Arshdeep, Tewatia is not very young. The 28-year-old has been around for some time. After the 2014 IPL debut for Rajasthan, he plied his brand of leg-spin for Punjab and Delhi before returning to the Rajasthan fold last year.

In Sharjah, when the Rajasthan chase was foundering, Tewatia produced a flurry of sixes in the 18th over to gain a place in IPL folklore. Five sixes in an over from Sheldon Cottrell of Punjab sealed the match for Rajasthan.

The tables were turned this year in India when skipper Sanju Samson steered Rajasthan to the doorstep of victory with a brilliant century. Arshdeep, 22, was given the onerous task of stopping Samson with 13 needed off the final over. The Punjab seamer conceded a six but kept the scoring down, and when five was needed off the last ball, Samson was caught at cover.

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Arshdeep never really received the plaudits he deserved for stifling Samson in full flow. Partly because Samson refused a single, which could have brought the target to four of the last ball. Some critics call Samson’s decision a blunder, but there’s no way of knowing that Chris Morris could have done the job that Samson couldn’t.

Well, there’s no denying that Arshdeep’s effort was indeed heroic. As the teams clashed on Tuesday, Arshdeep was in the thick of things, scalping five to choke Rajasthan when threatened a mammoth total. But the day belonged to Tyagi.

What’s gone somewhat unnoticed was the brilliant penultimate over from Mustafizur Rahman, who conceded only four runs to Nicholas Pooran and Aiden Markram when eight was required for a win. And that gave Tyagi four runs to defend.

Defend he did with aplomb. A dot ball was followed by the edge from Pooran that flew to wicketkeeper Samson. Another dot ball followed before Deepak Hooda nudged one to the keeper. The last ball was full and out of the reach of Fabian Allen’s flailing bat. It was brilliant bowling under tremendous pressure.

A hero was forged. A win was forged from Rajasthan’s ruins on the field. It was a win that elevated Rajasthan to the fifth spot on the points table and put them within sniffing distance of the front runners.

Kartik Tyagi, take a bow.