Delhi Capitals batsman Ripal Patel has revealed that he started playing cricket watching MS Dhoni, and is looking forward to becoming a finisher like him. Patel, who plays for Gujarat in domestic cricket scored 18 off 20 on his IPL debut for Delhi Capitals against Chennai Super Kings on Monday.
Ripal Patel walked to bat when the scorecard read 71/3, during Delhi Capitals' run-chase of 137. He scored only 18 off 20 balls, striking two fours, before falling to Ravindra Jadeja in the 13th over. DC eventually took the game by three wickets, thanks to Shimron Heymyer's 18-ball 28* during the game's closing stages.
Patel had got into DC's playing XI replacing Steve Smith, and was slotted in the middle-order in Marcus Stoinis' absence, who is on the sidelines with injury. The all-rounder has a reputation of being a power-hitter in domestic cricket, and 152 of his 209 T20 runs from 10 innings have come in boundaries (17 fours and 14 sixes), while maintaining an impressive strike-rate of 172.72.
The 26-year-old revelled in the joy of playing in front of his childhood hero MS Dhoni, and stated that he aims to become a finisher like him.
“It was a different feeling altogether to see Mahi bhai behind the stumps when I took guard. It felt really good that Mahi bhai was watching me play. I started playing cricket watching Mahi bhai and I am looking to become a finisher like him,” Patel was quoted as saying in a release issued by his franchise DC.
“After the game, I asked him how he finishes every match, how he thinks on the field and what goes on in his mind while chasing a score. We had a good chat and he gave me a lot of confidence.”
“I was really happy when I received my cap from Mishy bhai (Amit Mishra). It didn’t feel like it was my first match. I felt really good going into the match. I just looked to back myself and enjoy every part of the game,” Patel said.
“When I went into bat (at 71/3), we needed to score at a run-a-ball pace. I aimed to finish the match for the team. Shikhar bhai (Dhawan) told me to take my time at the crease, so I took my time and enjoyed my batting.”
Patel was disappointed to have not been able to finish off the game, but was glad that Kagiso Rabada hit the winning runs in a last-over win, which took DC to the top of the points table.
“It was very important for us to win the match. It was a crunch situation when we needed 2 runs from 3 balls. We were looking for a couple of runs and it was great to see Rabada hit a boundary.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t finish the match, but it was great that the team won and reached 20 points.”
Delhi Capitals will play their last league match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday, October 8 in Dubai.