Little-known 42-year-old Pravin Tambe shocked the watching world on Monday, as the Rajasthan Royals bowler became the first of IPL 2014 to claim a hat-trick, dismissing three Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen in successive balls.
Tambe’s story is an incredible one as he has played just two first-class matches in a career that has largely been spent in club cricket, per ESPNcricinfo. A cheap purchase at the end of the latest IPL auction has certainly paid off for the Royals, and his Cinderella story has proved popular on Twitter.
The Rajasthan Royals, through their official account, were unsurprisingly delighted with the performance of their veteran leg-spinner and were quick to express their jubilation:
The Royals were also keen to drum up some support for their unlikely star:
It was not just a celebration for the team involved, though, as the wider cricketing public reveled in the plucky spinner's glory. Cricket Australia contributed some images of the superb achievement:
Another peculiarity of the hat-trick was that it only came from two legal deliveries. The first wicket-taking ball was a leg-side wide resulting in a stumping. The second saw YK Pathan caught and bowled before Ryan ten Doeschate was trapped LBW to complete the amazing triple. ESPNcricinfo responded with incredulity to the Knight Riders' collapse:
Six wickets down for 2 runs. Pravin Tambe has picked up a hat-trick with two legal deliveries. Shambles for KKR. http://t.co/zHVr9FJg9K— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) May 5, 2014
Rajasthan went on to win the game by 10 runs, something that "KKR" took with good grace:
As mentioned, Tambe has played very little professional cricket at all, despite being 42 years old. Twitter commentator Alternative Cricket noted that the slow-bowler had held a much less glamorous job before linking up with the Royals:
His ESPNcricinfo profile offers more background on the new superstar, saying of Tambe:
Pravin Tambe had not even played a top-level game for a first-class side when he was picked from obscurity at the age of 41, by Rajasthan Royals for IPL 2013. The legspinner had toiled for several years as a club cricketer in Mumbai while still holding down a day job. Until the Royals scouts spotted his talent, his closest brush with top-level cricket came when he was named in the Mumbai Ranji probables in 2000. During the early seasons of the IPL, Tambe worked as a liaison officer whenever matches were played at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
The victory for the Royals takes them to third in the IPL table and keeps their hopes of reaching the semi-finals very much alive.
KKR are not in such a good position, having lost two of their seven contests. They now have a lot to do to reach the final four.