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IPL 2019: Journeyman Harry Gurney arrives in style for Kolkata Knight Riders

Harry Gurney restricted Rajasthan Royals to 139 for the loss of three, despite an unbeaten 59-ball 73 from Steve Smith during their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 encounter.

cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2019 20:37 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
IPL 2019,Harry Gurney,Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders bowler Harry Gurney (C) celebrates with his teammates.(AFP)

This could very well be the season for debutants. One day it was Sam Curran, then Alzarri Joseph and now Harry Gurney. The left-arm seamer from Nottingham caught Rajasthan Royals’ batsmen on the wrong foot with an unorthodox action in his very first appearance for Kolkata Knight Riders to walk away with Man of the Match award on Sunday.

Mixing his cutters well, Gurney dismissed Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi and Rajasthan could never recover from those setbacks. Known around the world as a death-over specialist in T20 leagues, the 32-year-old Gurney showed why he’s so sought after, conceding a mere seven runs in the last over.

“Like any other first game of the tournament, I was a bit nervous at noon when I got to know that I will be making my IPL debut. I had butterflies in my stomach. I am happy the way things turned out. I hope to be consistent and keep bowling like this,” said Gurney, who was picked by KKR for Rs 75 lakh after his eye-catching performance in the Big Bash League that helped Melbourne Renegades win their maiden title.

Gurney is a bit of a journeyman in franchise cricket. He has built his reputation as a death-bowling specialist, being on the winning side in the T10 League in the UAE and playing a key role in Quetta Gladiators title-winning campaign in the Pakistan Super League this year.

“Playing in various T20 leagues across the world has been enormous. I also know IPL is one of the best and biggest T20 leagues of the world. I last played for England way back in 2014. Playing in IPL is kind of an international cricket exposure for me. I hope to make most of this chance,” said Gurney, who played 10 ODIs and two T20Is for England.

Gurney said Sunday’s pitch suited his cutters. “It was a pitch that suited my cutter options, so a nice one to make my debut on. I work hard on my variations and on my yorker and it is nice to have them in tough situations. I am working on a knuckleball but I do not think it will be ready during the IPL — maybe somewhere in the English summer I would be ready with it.”

Talking about his strategy bowling on a rather slow pitch at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Gurney said, “A look at the pitch suggested it was a dry wicket, so in my first over I bowled cutters. Luckily, I got some purchase from the wicket and I decided to test the batsmen with my cutters in my spell.”

Sitting top of the table, Kolkata Knight Riders would be happy to have found a perfect T20 death-overs specialist in Gurney.

First Published: Apr 08, 2019 20:36 IST