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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Young shoulders carry SRH: CSK veterans shown up by Rashid Khan and unheralded duo

Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma posted 77 runs in seven overs to overturn a potential tragedy for Sunrisers Hyderabad, enabling them to recover from a perilous 69/4 to post a healthier 164/5, which Chennai fell short of by seven runs.

Written by Sandip G | Updated: October 3, 2020 10:52:18 am
iplAbhishek Sharma and Priyam Garg in action for SRH (Twitter/SunrisersHyderabad)

Until the 10th over of the first innings, the script flowed perfectly for Chennai Super Kings, before Priyam Garg and Rashid Khan rewrote it, despite MS Dhoni’s late effort to tinker with the climax.

Swag of youth

Priyam Garg is two months away from his 20th birthday, Abhishek Sharma is just a month into his 21st year. Together, they posted 77 runs in seven overs to overturn a potential tragedy for Sunrisers Hyderabad, enabling them to recover from a perilous 69/4 to post a healthier 164/5, which Chennai fell short of by seven runs.

They came together in the most unfavourable of circumstances. Garg strode in at the departure of skipper David Warner, held elastically in the deep by Faf du Plessis when trying to unshackle himself from the clutches of Chennai’s parsimonious bowlers. Sharma joined him after a delivery, when Kane Williamson contrived to run himself out. At best, Hyderabad would have prayed for the youngsters to give their total a resemblance of competitiveness. They gave more than that with a blend of emphatic striking and a calmness of nerves that portends bigger feats from them in the future.

Garg’s strokes are a collision of muscle and sophistry. Like when he swept Sam Curran over mid-wicket. Crouching low, he imparted a lot of power into the shot, before the whirl of the wrists ensured perfect placement. The next ball was a floaty cutter, which he waited and dabbed between backward point and third man. He showed remarkable maturity to not get overawed or carried away after his breezy start. He exuded remarkable composure, in dealing with the bowlers as well as the situation, and batted naturally. He was unfazed by reputation — he dragged a Dwayne Bravo delivery from outside off-stump and creamed it on the leg-side with a hint of arrogance that suggests he’s a real deal.

He also seized the moments —he knew the weak link in Chennai’s bowling machinery was Curran and targeted him, resulting in a 22-run over. Sharma played the support act to perfection, rotating strike and trading lusty blows when the opportunity presented itself. The Amritsar-born cricketer’s role model is Ravindra Jadeja, but that did not come in the way of thumping his idol over midwicket or reverse-sweeping him for a boundary.

Rashid’s strangle

Dhoni and his batting colleagues should know all there is to know about Rashid. After all, they have spent hours decoding his bowling threadbare, devouring footage of his action, trying to work out a way to play him. Besides, they have several first-hand accounts of having played him in the middle. Yet, the Afghan proved indecipherable, his four overs costing just 12 runs and effectively winning the match for Sunrisers.

Rashid is a master of disguise — it’s difficult to differentiate between a googly and leg-break from his action. Both come out of the back of the hand and he spins both with the top of his fingers. As if this is not deadly enough, he varies his pace masterfully, which makes it difficult to read him off the pitch.

His three overs that conceded just five runs upfront were so influential that even a late charge by Ravindra Jadeja and Dhoni couldn’t prevent a defeat. Strangling by spin is a very Chennai strategy, but Rashid beat them at their own game.

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