Four runs required off the last over with eight wickets in hand, and two set batsmen on the crease. Odds stacked up against the bowler, isn’t it (especially for one with no international caps)?

Not me, said Kartik Tyagi in Dubai on Tuesday night.


The 20-year-old bowled the near-perfect 20th over to concede just one run and take Rajasthan Royals to an improbable two-run victory over the Punjab Kings.


Even with four balls left, Kings had a 99.2% chance of winning the game. It dropped to 90% after 19.4, 62% after 19.5 and of course to 0% after the 20th. Such was the accuracy of Tyagi’s block-hole antics, which yielded five dot balls and two wickets.


From being a teenager who won games of cricket at the U-19 World Cup in 2020, he pulled off a miracle. “Tyagi was confident with his yorkers, especially wide yorkers. Executed them well against the new batters,” said the winning skipper Sanju Samson in the post-match ceremony.


“A tall right-arm bowler who can nip the ball around at pace, Tyagi was almost a prodigy who wasn’t,” according to ESPN Cricinfo‘s Saurabh Somani.

He made his first-class debut in 2017, a month short of his 17th birthday, but was soon laid low by injury. A dedicated recovery regimen and a positive frame of mind meant he was back to bowling in time for the 2020 U-19 World Cup, where, fitter and stronger, he emerged as one of the bowlers of the tournament.


“He came to my academy when he was 11 or 12 years old. He had good height and a high-arm action. Gradually his strength also increased,” said Vipin Vats, former Uttar Pradesh wicketkeeper and the personal coach of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Praveen Kumar.

“He’s very hard-working and picks up things very quickly. He has the class to play for India one day.”


His hardwork paid off yet again, when he was bought by the Rajasthan Royals ahead of the 2020 Indian Premier League. He made his debut against the Mumbai Indians, and throughout the season, impressed the selectors with his grit and character against the biggest names.

As a result, Tyagi was named as one of four additional bowlers to travel with Indian cricket team for their 2020/21 tour to Australia. He was among the likes of Mohammed Siraj and T Natarajan, who proved to be vital performers in the team’s historic 2-1 Test series win.

While the RR pacer missed out on game time Down Under, he did earn valuable experience sharing the dressing room with his ‘idols’, like Jasprit Bumrah.

“I have spoken to seniors for the last few years. Everyone has said that game can change anytime. I knew I have the death-overs skills,” Tyagi said while collecting the Man of the Match award on Tuesday night.


“Feeling happy. I was injured during the India leg of IPL 2021, and when I recovered the tournament got cancelled. Very happy to get the chance today.”

His best years might be ahead of him, but the young seamer has joined the brimming list of quicks who await their chance to represent India on the international stage. And if he’s consistently able to keep his cool like he did in that last over, it will only be a matter of time.

Image credits: Indian Express, BCCI