Bangalore, Apr 24: On Monday night, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, a left-arm orthodox spinner stole the show. It was Royal Challengers Bangalore's 23-year-old KP Appanna.
It was a night to remember for him as he registered his best Twenty20 bowling effort of 4/19 to steer RCB to 46-run victory over Rajasthan Royals in Game 30 of IPL 5.
AB de Villiers, who won the Man-of-the-match award for his half century, knew the importance of Appanna's spell and in a nice gesture, shared the award.
Appanna, after posing with De Villiers with the Man-of-the-match cheque, complimented his batsmen for setting up the game.
The pitch did offer some turn to spinners and Appanna was quick to make use of the conditions. He overshadowed his skipper Daniel Vettori, who is one of the best left-arm slow bowlers in the world. There was another left-arm spinner, the chinaman bowler, Brad Hogg. He too was upstaged by Appanna. Vettori had figures of 0/20 in four while Hogg took two wickets for 39 in 4 overs.
Appanna was signed by RCB before the start of this season after an impressive Ranji Trophy for Karnataka where he took 28 wickets. However, Appanna was part of RCB set-up in the first three years but was ignore in 2011.
The youngster hails from Coorg district, which is famous for producing hockey players. But Appanna chose cricket over hockey.
He is known as a very hard working cricketer in Karnataka. He made his Ranji Tropy debut at the age of 17 and was an understudy for former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi.
With Joshi continuing his career into the early 40s, Appanna had limited opportunities. However, last season, Joshi took over as Hyderabad coach and that opened the door for Appanna.
He ended the season as the fourth joint highest wicket-taker. Karnataka, however, could not progress past the quarter-finals stage.
The youngster, in his short career, has already experienced some tough phases. In 2009, while playing a Ranji Trophy game against Saurashtra, he was reported for chucking.
After he was sent to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, the coaches and experts there did not find anything wrong with his action. Karnataka team supported him during that period.
A quiet guy on and off the field, Appanna makes all the talking through the cricket field.
Being a part of the team which had a Karnakata stalwart like Joshi has helped Appanna learn left-arm spin better.
Karnataka is looking at Appanna to be the team's main spinner in the years to come. At the moment, Appanna can slip into that role in RCB colours and push them towards IPL 5 title.