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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The finisher we never knew: Shardul Thakur makes up for IPL final in India jersey

Shardul Thakur saved the blushes for India with a terrific cameo, as he smashed 17 vital runs off 6 balls vs West Indies. In the IPL final earlier this year, Shardul had found himself in an eerily similar situation. And failed.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: December 22, 2019 10:22:12 pm
Shardul Thakur bats vs West Indies in Cuttack on Sunday (Twitter/ICC)

Shardul Thakur walked in at the worst possible time for India in the 3rd ODI vs West Indies in Cuttack on Sunday, but his short cameo at the end of the match – 17 runs off 6 balls – was one of the best finishing jobs seen in India colours in recent times.

Virat Kohli had gone out for 85 in the 46th over, leaving India needing 30 runs off the last 4 overs with all of their specialist batsmen back in the hut.

Shardul smashed 16 runs from his first five balls. The Cuttack crowd, which had been left stunned by Kohli’s ill-timed wicket, were cheering hoarse once again. Kohli was seen jumping out his seat in the dressing room as Shardul crashed Sheldon Cottrell into all parts of the ground.

Shardul’s carnage in the Cottrell over meant India needed only nine runs from 14 balls. Ravindra Jadeja went over to him to have a few words. “Just try to bat properly, don’t play silly shots, look to time the ball,” Jadeja told Shardul, as he would reveal after the match.

On asked if he sees himself as a permanent No.8 in the Indian team, Shardul said after the match, “Today was one of those days when I could connect well. I know I have the talent to bat. If I can contribute these 20-25 runs when the team needs me, I would be glad.”

Redemption for IPL 2019 final

Shardul Thakur’s usefulness with the bat was on display for India in the 3rd ODI. Earlier this year, however, Shardul had found himself in an eerily similar situation, and had failed to come up with the goods on that day.

In the 2019 IPL final, Shardul Thakur was on strike – with Jadeja at the non-striker’s end – as Chennai Super Kings needed 2 runs to win off the last ball.

Shardul would fail on that day, as Lasith Malinga would bowl a perfect last ball, and Mumbai Indians would win the 2019 IPL, but Shardul has proved his batting acumen many times before.

He scored a vital 15* (5) for CSK against SRH in an IPL match in 2018. He has six FC fifties to his name, and has come up with vital knocks in the lower order for Mumbai in domestic cricket over the years.

In 2006, Shardul even hit six sixes in an over in a Haris Shield match, playing for Swami Vivekananda School.

A little over a year ago, Shardul Thakur hobbled off on his Test debut in his second over. Sunday, when he saved the blushes for India, might just have been his day of redemption in more ways than one.

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