Deepak Chahar, whose maiden international fifty handed India the game and the series, revealed that he has always dreamed of playing a match-winning knock like the one at Colombo today. With India reeling at 193/7 at one stage, Chahar struck a scarcely-believable 69* to take the visitors home.
Deepak Chahar hogged the highlight reels in the first innings through his knuckle-balls, but quite astonishingly he produced an even better showing with the bat in the second. Chasing 276, India looked down and out at 193/7, with all set batsmen dismissed, but Chahar played a knock of a lifetime. Reading the situation to perfection, the right-hander bided his time for the first 30 balls, but then shifted gears seamlessly to rattle the hosts. He grew in stature with time, and against all odds, thanks to an unbeaten 84-run stand between Chahar and Bhuvneshwar, India got over the line to win the match and seal the series.
The stunning 69* today was Chahar’s first international fifty, and speaking post match, the 28-year-old said that it was the kind of innings he dreamt of as a kid.
“Only one thing that was going on in my mind: this is the kind of innings I've been dreaming of. No better way to win the match for the country,” Chahar said in the post match presentation.
Interestingly, Chahar, despite having batted only twice before today in ODI cricket, was promoted ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and was asked to bat at No.8. India reaped the rewards for the shrewd tactical decision, and the right-hander revealed that it was stand-in coach Rahul Dravid’s call to give him the No.7 spot.
“Rahul sir told me to play all the balls. I've played a few innings with India A and I think he has belief in me. He told me he thinks I'm good enough to be a No. 7. He has belief in me. Hopefully in the coming matches I don't have to bat,” Chahar said.
Man of the Match today, Chahar revealed that he consciously started taking risks after the target came down under 50, knowing that victory was within sight.
“When we came under 50 is when I believed we can win. Before that it was ball by ball. I took some risks after.”