Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) batting all-rounder Vijay Shankar made a major statement with the bat in last night’s IPL match against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) by hitting an unbeaten fifty, giving great company to the in-form Manish Pandey, whose counter-attacking knock of 83 anchored SRH home with 8 wickets and 11 balls to spare.
Although he had made a very slow start to the innings, leaving the commentators discussing whether the same would have a negative impact on Manish Pandey who had been batting so well, Shankar made up for his slow start with three back-to-back boundaries off Jofra Archer, RR’s strike bowler, in the 16th over, which immensely helped in bringing the equation down to a run-a-ball 24.
ALSO READ: IPL 2020, Match 40: Rajasthan Royals v Sunrisers Hyderabad – Pandey, Shankar half-centuries help SRH coast to 8-wicket win
Shankar, who had batted 18 balls in this year’s IPL before the knock last night, said after the game, “Manish was hitting the ball really well early on. I had batted only 18 balls before this innings so it was important for me to stay at the wicket and give him the confidence that we can take the game deep. We chatted in the middle about taking the game deep and I opened up and got a few boundaries and it made things easier for us. It was a good partnership and we had good communication and were running very well between the wickets too.”
Shankar discussed the game plan that he and Pandey went with during their 148-run match-winning partnership, the first instance of an Indian pair raising a partnership in excess of 100 for SRH. Talking about the confidence that he gained by playing the best part of Jofra Archer’s second spell, Shankar said, “It was important for me to play a bowler like Jofra Archer in this situation because it gives me a lot of confidence. He was coming really hard at us. If you see in the second and third over, I played most of the balls he bowled. It was very important for me to play without getting out and score some runs as well which was important for me.
“We knew we have to stay in the middle to take the game deep. If you ask me personally, it was a do or die game for me. I’ve not had the best of time with the bat. I had to perform in this game. Fortunately or unfortunately we lost early wickets which made the team decide to send me up the order. Really happy to play such an innings.”
It was Shankar who eventually hit the winning runs with a pull shot off Kartik Tyagi for four, in the process bringing up his half-century. SRH face the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in their next encounter on Saturday.