Deepak Chahar helps India pull off heist

Colombo: Deepak Chahar emerged as India’s unlikely hero with the bat as the fast bowler hit an unbeaten 69 to help the visitors gun down a 276-run target in a thriller in the 2nd ODI of a 3-match series against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Tuesday.

Deepak and Bhuvneshwar Kumar came up with an unbeaten 84-run stand for the 8th wicket as India recovered from 193 for 7 to pull of a stunning win. India have taken an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the 3-match series and extended their winning run in Sri Lanka that dates back to 2012. This was also India’s 10th successive win over Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in 10 ODIs.

Before Tuesday, Deepak Chahar’s highest ODI score was just 12 and he had only List A fifty but the Chennai Super Kings bowler looked calm and composed even as the asking rate touched 6 with only 3 wickets in the bag. Deepak and Bhuvneshwar were in no hurry when they joined hands after India lost Krunal Pandya, who hit a fighting 35.

Thanks to Suryakumar Yadav’s quickfire 53 from 44 balls, Chahar and Bhuvneshwar did not feel the scoreboard pressure. The two tail-enders never lost their composure as they attacked with caution and took India past the finish line.

Shikhar Dhawan, Winning captain, said, ‘ I felt that the wicket today was much better and we restricted them to a good score. The spinners fought back and the bowlers adjusted their line and lengths when their batsmen were in. We didn’t start well and it is a good learning lesson for the youngsters that everyday is not the same. They will understand how to handle these situations and how to bring in new strategies. The way Manish Pandey and Suryakumar were batting, we thought they would take us home. Hard luck to Pandey for the way he got out. The way Krunal fought in the middle was amazing. Everyone showed character. We knew that Chahar has worked hard in the nets on his batting. His presence of mind and calculations against the leg-spinner was amazing. Both Bhuvi and him calculated it really well. I felt the way Sri Lanka planned their innings in both their batting and bowling was amazing. The way they batted and fielded was good to watch. They worked really hard, but glad that we are on the winning side. Every game is a learning lesson and we hope to analyse and get better. We want to put up a good show all the time.’

Deepak Chahar, Player of the Match, said, ‘Few drop catches (with the ball) and it was hot there and we did well after that, and I got two wickets. In the end we stopped them to 270s which is a decent score. Only one thing was going in my mind (When I came out to bat) and this is the kind of thing you dream when you start playing cricket and when playing for India. No better way to win the match for the nation. Rahul sir told me to play all the balls. I have played few innings for India A and he has belief in me and always believes in me and that was a game changer. We have a fantastic batting line-up and hopefully I won’t get to bat in the next games. This is the first time for me in such a situation. We were just playing ball by ball and when it came under 50 that is when I decided to hit boundaries and after that six (42.2 – off Sandakan) it gave me the momentum.’

Dasun Shanaka, Losing captain, said, ‘I am really proud with the ways the boys played today. It was a really tough game. Credit to the Indians and especially Deepak, who took the game away from us. We started well again but lost several wickets in the middle overs. We shouldn’t give them easy wickets and we need to bat better till the batting powerplay. Actually I didn’t bowl for a while because there were enough bowlers, but I took a chance then after that.’