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  5. IPL Rising Star: Naman Dhir, amalgamation of flair and confidence

IPL Rising Star: Naman Dhir, amalgamation of flair and confidence

Naman Dhir was born on December 31, 1999 in Ambala (Haryana). He represents Punjab in the domestic arena and is still fairly raw in terms of first-class experience. Mumbai Indians showed a lot of faith in him in the 17th season.

Written By: Kumar Rupesh @afiestysoul New Delhi Published on: May 18, 2024 12:12 IST
Naman Dhir.
Image Source : BCCI/IPL Naman Dhir.

It raised plenty of eyebrows when Naman Dhir was seen walking into the middle to take strike when Ishan Kishan fell for a duck in Mumbai Indians' IPL 2024 season opener against Gujarat Titans on March 24.

However, the 24-year-old right-handed batter wasted no time and showcased why Mumbai had decided to take a punt on him.

Dhir smashed a quick-fire 20 off just 10 deliveries and exhibited his power-hitting skills. He struck three fours and a six before Gujarat Titans' overseas allrounder Azmatullah Omarzai pinned him in front of his stumps to put an end to his enterprising knock.

Though Dhir failed to make the most out of the brisk start, his approach in the middle proved that he wasn't overawed by the magnitude of the event and the responsibility which was put on his shoulders.

His next outing, which came in the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, saw him take a step further. 

Chasing a record total of 278 to win the game, Mumbai got off to a brisk start but lost opener Ishan Kishan on the second ball of the third over. In came Dhir and got straight into the act.

He utilised the conditions to the fullest and launched an onslaught with the get-go. The Ambala-born took a bit of the pressure off Rohit Sharma and pressed his foot on the gas.

He pushed the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers on the backfoot but fell while trying to up the ante. He scored 30 off 14 balls at a scintillating strike rate of 214.28 with the help of two fours and as many sixes  and gave Mumbai the ideal launchpad they needed.

With two impressive knocks at the start of the season, Dhir looked poised to register a fifty soon, however, the right-hander ran out of luck and wnt into a perid of dormancy.

His next four innings saw him score 0, 11, 0 and 17. Dhir looked out of sorts and exasperated and understandably so as he registered a slump in form.

But just when everyone thought that they had seen all of Dhir this season, he bounced back with a bang and played a coruscating knock of 62* off just 28 balls with the help of four boundaries and five sixes.

Though he failed to take the team over the line, he gave a reason for the Mumbai Indians team management to think of retaining him ahead of the mega auction.

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