Who is Harshit Rana? KKR’s match-saving hero vs SRH used to be net bowler for Gujarat Titans… then Abhishek Nayar called | Ipl News

Harshit Rana became an instant hero in Kolkata after snatching victory for Kolkata Knight Riders from the jaws of defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad as hosts KKR won their IPL 2024 opener four runs. Going into the last over at Eden Gardens, Hyderabad needed just 13 runs from the last over. They held the advantage, as the marauding Heinrich Klaasen (who had scored 56 runs from 26 balls, thanks to seven sixers at that stage) and Shahbaz Ahmed (who was batting on 16 runs off just four balls with one four and two sixes) were in the middle.
That’s when KKR captain Shreyas Iyer threw the ball to Harshit Rana. Despite Klaasen hitting the first ball for six, Rana managed to claim the wickets of both Klaasen and Shahbaz while giving away just two runs in his remaining five balls.
“To be honest, I thought anything could happen in the last over. Harshit (Rana) was a bit nervous when he was coming to bowl the last over. I looked into his eyes and told him ‘this is your moment, buddy! Even if we lose, it’s fine’ I calmed him down.” Iyer recounted after the match ended.
The wicket impressed even Sachin Tendulkar, who singled him out for praise on X.
“… some courageous bowling in the final over Harshit Rana sealed the game where he opted for a slower delivery to a well-set Klaasen at that stage of the game instead of a yorker and possibly took him surprise. Well done,” tweeted Tendulkar.
Earlier in the game, Rana had angered another cricketing legend from Mumbai, Sunil Gavaskar, for the ‘flying kiss’ sendoff he gave to Mayank Agarwal.
“Rana shouldn’t have done that. Did the batsman do anything to him when he was hitting him for sixes? Cricket can be played without these antics. It’s the age of television. I understand that. Celebrate with your teammates but no need for such antics for the opposition,” Gavaskar said in commentary.
Harshit Rana celebrates with KKR teammates after helping the hosts beat SRH during an IPL 2024 match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. (Express photo Partha Paul.)
Harshit Rana’s incredible journey
Despite the criticism from an India legend, for Rana — who ended the game with figures of 3/33, including the wickets of Mayank Agarwal, Shahbaz Ahmed and Heinrich Klaasen — the game had a fairytale ending.
Rana got his break with KKR back in 2022 with some help from Nitish Rana, who had initially recommended his name to Abhishek Nayar before a trial.
“I first came to KKR after being sent to Abhishek Nayar sir Nitish (Rana) bhaiyya. The first day of the trials itself Nayar sir told me I could play for Kolkata,” Rana recollected in an episode of Knights TV on KKR’s YouTube channel in 2022.
Rana was playing as a net bowler for Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2022 season when KKR’s Rasikh Salam injured his back. When they were looking for a replacement, Nayar called Rana.
“When Rasikh injured his back, we had to get a replacement player. Nitish Rana has always liked Harshit. So he suggested to Baz (former KKR head coach Brendon McCullum) that we should get Harshit on board,” former mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders David Hussey told Knights TV.

“I used to be a net bowler with Gujarat Titans. One day I got a phone call from Nayar sir. When they sent me the contract at night, that feeling I can’t describe,” Rana recollected in the clip on KKR’s YouTube channel. “I haven’t played too much domestic cricket apart from at the U19 and U25 level.”
Rana had made his debut for KKR in 2022, when he was hit for a boundary off the first ball. But he managed to come back with a wicket two balls later. That was the only wicket he would take in the 2022 season where he got to play two matches for KKR. In the 2023 season, he claimed five wickets in six games.
What stands out is that while the right-arm fast bowler hails from New Delhi, and has played age group cricket for them, he was called up KKR as a replacement for the injured Salam in IPL 2022 before he could make his debut at the senior level for Delhi.
“It shows that you can make your debut and get picked up from anywhere. I really enjoy these stories that go from nothing to an IPL hero within 24 hours. That’s what cricket is all about. You can find talent from anywhere. We have one talented kid in Harshit going forward,” Hussey said before going on to predict: “Not just bowling, he can also bat. With the bat he’s Mr 360. So hopefully expecting him to be as good as AB de Villiers within a year. He’s a ripper. He’s going to have a long and successful career at KKR”

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