India pacer Vijay Shankar was given the ball in the 10th over in the 2nd ODI against Australia at VCA Stadium in Nagpur on Tuesday. Aussie openers Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch hit him for three boundaries and the right-armer conceded 13 runs. He was not given the ball throug the remainder of the match until the crucial final over.
With the visitors needing 11 to win in 6 balls, with 2 wickets remaining, skipper Virat Kohli had a choice to make – whether to give Shankar another opportunity or to give the ball to part-timer Kedar Jadhav. The regular bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav had all finished their full quota of 10 overs. Eventually, after a long discussion, Kohli went ahead with Shankar, who picked up two wickets in three balls to give India a thrilling eight-run win.
P.S. Did Vijay continue the rest of his interview in Hindi with @yuzi_chahal? 😁😁
— BCCI (@BCCI) 6 March 2019
Appearing on the chat show “Chahal TV” hosted by Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, Kohli explained the strategy behind handing the Tamil Nadu allrounder the final over.
“We had a discussion on whom to give the final bowler. We had a thought that if a spinner’s delivery comes in the radar, then it will be easier to step out and hit it for a six. There was reverse swing on offer for a fast bowler. So, I was hoping that Vijay would be able to reverse swing a bit,” Kohli said.
“If he bowls in the right areas, the batsman might go for a swing and miss, which happened on the first ball. And then it reversed a bit on the final ball, and we won. So we were hoping he could exploit the swing on offer. 11 runs were needed in the final over, so I knew it could be easier for Vijay. Because then the batsman had to go for a big hit. And they just had two wickets left,” he added.
Vijay, who also appeared on the chat show, further added that he was mentally prepared for it. “I was actually ready for it. I was preparing myself for it after the 43rd over. I thought I am going to have to bowl the last over and defend 10 runs. So, it was already there in my mind. So, I was just thinking about what I should do, and I just executed that,” the 28-year-old said.
Kohli, who scored a ton, also praised Shankar’s allround effort, acknowledging the role the allrounder played with the bat. The right-handed batsman scored 46 runs in 41 balls before he was eventually run out in an unfortunate fashion. “When I was in the middle with Vijay Shankar, we had a really good partnership. He batted really well, he was going with the flow. It made my job easier. The way the partnership was going, I was feeling maybe we could reach somewhere close to 275. But he had an unfortunate run out and then we had to reassess the total,” Kohli said.
“I will especially congratulate Vijay because of the way he batted, and the way he bowled the final over. It requires a lot of mental strength. And he showed a lot of his character in the match,” he added. “It was a challenging day. We spent nearly 100 overs on the field. We feel a bit tired, but winning makes us happy.”
With the win, India took a 2-0 lead in the 5-match ODI series.