The Indian Premier League has changed a lot over the years. It has changed the way cricket operates. It has made the game more entertaining and global. It has made BCCI and India the epicentre of the cricketing world. But beyond all of this, it has acted as a catalyst in transforming and shaping the careers of young players.
One such beginning took place on Wednesday, October 6th in the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi as Mumbai Indians faced Rajasthan Royals. Struggling with two back-to-back defeats after winning their first two games, RR decided to make three changes in their squad. The introduction of 19-year old Kartik Tyagi was one of them!
Tyagi who featured alongside his RR teammate Yashasvi Jaiswal in the U-19 World Cup earlier this year hadn't got the taste of IPL, unlike the latter who was included in Rajasthan's first game of the season against Chennai.
Because of how the U-19 matches are looked upon these days, quite a bit was known about the 19-year old who hails from Hapur, Uttar Pradesh. The right-arm medium-fast pacer had taken 11 wickets for India in the U19 World Cup and was bought by RR for 1.30 Cr INR in the auction last winter.
One can never actually put to words what any 19-year old would feel like when he/she gets his/her first cap. Or shall we say earn their first cap! For Tyagi playing under the captaincy of Steve Smith and alongside guys like Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Robin Uthappa would be nothing short of a dream come true moment.
But the real dream come true moment was yet to come. After all the ceremonies in the buildup to the game, the young pacer would have realized the altitude at which their opponents stood. Mumbai Indians were playing on the back of consecutive comprehensive wins against KXIP (48 runs) and SRH (34 runs). They were second on the points table and a win would take them to the top given their net run rate which was the best of the lot.
Even when the game began, MI performed as MI does. 41 runs in the first four overs without losing a wicket. De Kock (22 runs off 13 balls) and captain Rohit (18 runs of 11 balls) had laid a solid foundation for the defending champions.
Ankit Rajpoot had been thrashed for 25 runs in the two overs that he had bowled while Jofra Archer had also been picked by de Kock for a six and a four in his first over. It was at this point that Steve Smith entrusted Kartik Tyagi with an over. His first ever in the IPL.
The first delivery he bowled was a good length ball just outside the off-stump and the Proteas left-handed opener gave him due respect to place it for a single. His second one was tricky as it was outside of off and back of a length. 'The Hitman' couldn't judge the pace and got a bottom edge onto it that bounced past the stump. No run was conceded on this. Something that may have given Tyagi the boost to experiment. What may have been an attempted yorker was actually a high full-toss that Rohit sent sailing into the stands. With a pull shot of course, over the backward square leg.
The 19-year old may have understood by now as to why they call Rohit- The Hitman and why MI are the four-time IPL champions. But determined not to repeat his mistake, Tyagi bowled his fourth one replicating his first delivery to Rohit. Back of a length and just outside off. Credit to another right-arm medium-fast pacer from UP, Ankit Rajpoot that the ball didn't go past the short third man position for a boundary.
It may or may not have killed the youngster's confidence. We'll never know. Because of the next delivery, Kartik Tyagi finally got to live the moment he would've dreamt growing up.
Bowling round the wicket to the left-hander, Tyagi pitched it short and fast and before de Kock knew, he had edged it straight up for Jos Buttler to collect. Quite comfortably. And just like that, the 19-year old Kartik Tyagi had inked his name in the IPL books. His first wicket in his first IPL match, in his first over. That too of the in-form Quinton de Kock.
Tyagi finished the over by conceding nine as the eventual Man of the Match, Suryakumar Yadav took a single off his last ball. He conceded a total of 36 runs in his quota of four overs on the night MI garnered 193 on the scoreboard.
Rajasthan got bundled at 136 without Tyagi getting to face a single ball. But in the end, the young pacer from Hapur will always remember the one he pitched to the South Africa International in his first over. The one that got him his first IPL wicket. In his first IPL match.
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