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IPL 2024: Nitish Kumar Reddy - SRH’s Household Name

The 20-year-old all-rounder demonstrated his prowess in both batting and bowling, contributing to SRH's narrow victory over PBKS by a margin of 2 runs.

IPL 2024: Nitish Kumar Reddy - SRH’s Household Name

Young Nitish Kumar Reddy became a household name in India after his heroics helped Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) eke out a narrow two-run win over Punjab Kings (PBKS) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Mullanpur on April 9.

He made his IPL debut against CSK last week and could only manage 14 runs (off just eight balls) but against PBKS, the youngster had other plans.

As the famed SRH’s batting order came a cropper against PBKS, Nitish Reddy stood tall to steady the ship by belting 64 off just 37 balls to help his team post a daunting 182 in their 20 overs. Sent ahead of Heinrich Klaasen and Rahul Tripathi, Reddy walked in at 64/4 and tackled Harpreet Brar, Kagiso Rabada and Sam Curran with ease. He was particularly harsh on Brar, carting him at will.

With the ball, Reddy accounted for Jitesh Sharma, in the 16th over, and sent back Prabhsimran Singh by taking a good catch.

Adjudged the Player-of-the-Match, the 20-year-old said self-belief is his biggest weapon. “For me, it’s like a big contribution for my team and for myself. I have been telling myself that I should believe in myself. The seamers were bowling well, I didn’t want to take on them. I knew that the spinners would come, and I wanted to attack them, I just did that,” he said after the match.

He added that he didn’t want to change anything and just continue with the good work. “The slower bouncer is really working (through the tournament), so I just wanted to use the dimensions. I just want to continue this performance for my team, with the bat, with the ball and in the field. I just want to be like this,” he added.

SRH skipper Pat Cummins lauded the youngsters commitment. “He (Nitish Reddy) is awesome. He had a fantastic debut last week. Coming straight to the top order, he was fantastic in the field, he bowled three overs too, and to get us to 180 off his bat, it was amazing,” he said.

Reddy vaulted into the IPL record books when he became the second youngest player after Priyam Garg to score a half-century in the history of IPL. He was 20 years and 319 days old when he achieved the feat on April 9.

It isn’t a surprise to know that Reddy idolises Virat Kohli. Predominantly a batting all-rounder, Reddy, a native of Visakhapatnam, made his first-class debut in January 2020. He did not make a huge impact in his first Ranji Trophy match against Kerala but soon made heads turn when he returned with a five-wicket haul against power-house Mumbai.

In age group cricket, Reddy started as an opening batter for Andhra before cementing the No. 3 position. His exploits with the bat helped him to win laurels at ease. The Vijay Merchant Trophy in 2017-18 was a breakout season for the young all-rounder when he scored 1,237 runs at an average of 176.41, with a highest score of 441 (366 balls against Nagaland). Apart from a triple hundred, Nitish Reddy scored two centuries and two fifties too.

A memorable List-A debut soon followed. Playing for Andhra against Vidarbha in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2021, Reddy scored an unbeaten 54 to help Andhra win by three wickets. He had a good tournament and chipped in with useful contributions, but his team couldn’t go the distance.

However, Nitish Kumar Reddy became a household name in India’s domestic circuit, but on Tuesday, the Visakhapatnam-born player took the IPL by storm too.

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