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Shikhar Dhawan said that his maiden ton was a very special one after Delhi beat Chennai by five wickets in their Dream11 IPL 2020 match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
The three-time winners had posted 179/4 in their 20 overs with Faf du Plessis top-scoring (58) for them after winning the toss and elected to bat first. In reply, opener Shikhar Dhawan played an anchor's role to perfection with an outstanding ton. With 17 needed off the final over, MS Dhoni handed over the ball to Ravindra Jadeja. The move eventually backfired as the tail-ender Axar Patel clobbered him for three maximums to seal the deal in his team's favor.
'Gabbar' on the other hand remained unbeaten on a 58-ball 101 at a strike rate of 174.14 including 14 boundaries and a maximum and was adjudged the Man of the Match for his blistering knock.
"It's very special. Playing for 13 years, so very special. Really happy. At the start of the tournament, I was hitting the ball but I wasn't converting the 20s or 30s into fifties. Once you start doing that, you get more confidence. I just want to continue the same form and make the most of it. I keep my mindset positive, I don't think a lot. Of course, I do have a few strategies according to pitch. I feel I have courage. It is very important. Luckily, I was able to work a lot on my routine due to this long break we had due to Corona", said Dhawan during the post-match interview.
Shikhar's captain Shreyas Iyer said that he was nervous and had no idea what to say after realising that the contest was getting to the final over.
"I was very nervous, didn't know what to say because it was getting to the last over. I knew that if Shikhar stays till the end, we will win. But the way Axar struck the ball was amazing to see. Whenever we give the Man of the Match awards in our dressing room, he is always there. He is an unsung hero. His preparation is always on point and he knows what he is doing. We've been gelling well as a team from the first day of our camp. We know the strengths and weaknesses of each other. We've embraced each other's successes and failures in the same way. I just told one of the teammates today that today the way he batted, it was really mesmerising to see. Also gives me some breathing space as captain", he said.
Iyer's opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni revealed what made him give the ball to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja when the match was still hanging in the balance in the final over.
"Bravo was not fit, he went out and was really not able to come back. That was the reason we had to bowl (Ravindra Jadeja). The option was either Karn and Jaddu so I went ahead with Jaddu. Maybe not enough. Shikhar's wicket was important, we did drop him quite a few times. He's somebody if he is batting, he'll keep ticking the scoreboard. He'll keep taking his chances. If he's there on the crease, he'll always maintain a good strike rate. I felt his wicket was crucial. Also, there was a difference between the first innings and the second innings. The wicket behaved slightly better in the second innings, it came on slightly better which made it slightly easy for the batsmen. But overall, we can't really take the credit away from Shikhar, he batted really well and was supported really well by the other batters", he said.
(Image Courtesy: @IPL)
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