Rahmanullah Gurbaz leaves ailing mom in hospital for 'other family' Kolkata Knight Riders: 'She's still sick but KKR…' | Crickit
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Rahmanullah Gurbaz leaves ailing mom in hospital for 'other family' Kolkata Knight Riders: 'She's still sick but KKR…'

May 22, 2024 02:04 PM IST

Rahmanullah Gurbaz made a difficult decision of joining the KKR camp for IPL playoffs despite his mother being in hospital back home in Afghanistan.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz had to leave his ailing mother in hospital as his "other family", Kolkata Knight Riders, needed him in the IPL playoffs. The Afghanistan cricketer, who had to fly back home to attend to his mother in the middle of the tournament, received a call from the KKR management after Phil Salt left for national duties about 10 days ago. Gurbaz said it was a difficult choice but he took his mother's blessings and decided to come to India to participate in the IPL playoffs.

Kolkata Knight Riders' Andre Russell (R) and wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz celebrate(AFP)
Kolkata Knight Riders' Andre Russell (R) and wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz celebrate(AFP)

"My mom is still sick. I went there (back home in Afghanistan). I got a call from KKR once Phil Salt was leaving. They called me and messaged me, saying, 'Gurbaz, we need you; what is your situation?'. I said I'll come. My mother is still recovering in the hospital, I speak to her every day. But I knew my KKR was also my family. They needed me here. So I came back from Afghanistan. It's hard, it's tough but I have to manage," Gurbaz said in the post-match press conference at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmadabad.

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The attacking right-hander hit two fours and as many sixes in his first match of IPL 2024, the Qualifier 1 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, to give KKR a blistering start in the 160-run chase. Gurbaz's 14-ball 23-run knock didn't let KKR feel the void of Phil Salt. The two-time champions won the match by eight wickets and 6.2 overs to spare to march into their fourth final.

Also Read | Venkatesh Iyer stuns broadcasters in post-match interview after KKR reach IPL 2024 final by hammering SRH

Gurbaz was KKR's first-choice keeper-batter in the last season. He played 11 matches, scoring 227 runs at a strike rate of 133. But when England opener Jason Roy withdrew from the 17th edition, KKR drafted Salt as a replacement. The Englishman was immediately given preference as the primary keeper-batter and opener of the side. The decision proved an instant success, and along with Sunil Narine, Salt gave KKR breathtaking starts at the top of the order.

The right-hander scored 435 runs in just 12 matches at a staggering strike rate of 182. Gurbaz had to wait for his chance but he made sure he was prepared.

"I should clarify this. As a cricketer, you know what to do. In League Cricket, only four overseas players can play in the XI. If you have an opportunity, you should try and do well. If you do not have an opportunity, you should prepare well and be ready. Whenever you get a chance, you have to be ready," Gurbaz said.

Starc magic takes KKR to fourth IPL final

Mitchell Starc, who had signed for a record-breaking $2.9 million in his IPL return, reserved his best for the big game in the playoff with 3-34 after Hyderabad won the toss but crumbled against the Australian left-arm fast bowler.

Kolkata, which topped the points table with nine wins, cruised to 164-2 in just 13.4 overs, with captain Shreyas Iyer (58) and Venkatesh Iyer (51) both hitting unbeaten half-centuries.

Hyderabad will get another chance to qualify for the final on Friday when they meet the winner of Wednesday’s eliminator between Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Rajasthan Royals.

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