Vijay Shankar became the surprising hero for the Indian cricket team as the hosts defeated Australia by eight runs in Nagpur on Tuesday. With 11 runs needed from the final over of the match and Marcus Stoinis in top form, Shankar kept his calm and with two wickets in three balls, he was able to clinch the match for Virat Kohli & Co.
The two frontline pace bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami – were both done with their quota of ten overs and although Kedar Jadhav had two overs left, Kohli handed the ball to Shankar and he did not disappoint.
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With the first ball of the over he trapped the in-form Stoinis LBW for 52 and then followed it up with the wicket of Adam Zampa on the third ball of the over as he castled the tail-ender for 2.
Earlier, Shankar was on course for his first half-century in ODIs before being dismissed for 46 in the most unluckiest manner.
Virat Kohli struck a delivery from Adam Zampa down the ground and the bowler managed to get his fingertips on the ball as it hit the stumps with Shankar just outside the crease at the non-striker’s end.
The all-rounder was looking to give Kohli a start, but by the time he realised that he could be run out, he didn’t have enough time to put his bat behind the crease.
This unlucky dismissal broke a flourishing partnership of 81 runs between Shankar and Kohli.
“I was ready to bowl that over. Only if I do it will people know I can. It was just about being mentally clear, not be crowded mentally. Wanted to hit the hard lengths because it was reversing a bit, and I told myself to bowl at the stumps. I think when you play for the country you have to be ready to do whatever the team needs,” he said after the match.
“I keep telling myself to work on all aspects of the game, and when the opportunity comes, be ready to grab it. I thought I was timing the ball well, rotating the strike in the middle overs. I was confident of doing that and it was a good partnership,” he added.