Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opener Venkatesh Iyer has been a revelation for the two-time champions in the second half of Indian Premier League n(IPL) 2021 as he continued his impressive start to his IPL career with a second half-century in five games. He scored a 49-ball 67 against Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
After the early dismissal of Shubman Gill, courtesy of a dreamy delivery from left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh, Iyer combined with Rahul Tripathi to lace a steady 72-run stand for the second wicket in 55 deliveries. Iyer laced nine boundaries and a solitary six to score 67 runs off 49 deliveries. It is now his highest score in IPL.
Roped in for a base price of INR 20 lakhs at the IPL 2020 auction, Iyer was handed his debut at the start of the UAE leg of IPL 2021. He scored an unbeaten 41 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in his maiden appearance and followed it up with his maiden half-century against the defending champions Mumbai Indians. In his next two appearances - against Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals - Iyer added 18 and 14 respectively.
In five games hence, Iyer has amassed 193 runs, which is the joint-most by any KKR batsman in their first five appearances for the franchise, tied with South African legend Jacques Kallis.
Following his impressive debut, Iyer revealed how former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly inspired him as a batsman.
“Honestly, KKR was the first franchise I wanted to get in because Sourav Ganguly was the captain initially so I wanted to get into KKR first. Got picked by the franchise so it was a dreamy moment for me. Everyone was very welcoming, I got a lot of gifts. I am a huge fan of Dada, he has got millions of fans around the globe and I am one of them. He has played a huge role in my batting, indirectly,” Iyer told teammate Rahul in a video posted on iplt20.com.