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Ishan Kishan displays maturity in orchestrating big chase in T20 win over Australia | Cricket News


Over the past 12 months as India’s batting might went from strength to strength, Ishan Kishan’s case got rather peculiar. It was he who first signalled a clear change of approach at the top of the order in limited-overs cricket, only to spend the next 10 months as a back-up batsman. He has been around, watching from the sidelines as the rest of the batsmen feasted on flat decks. At the World Cup, despite being in a rich vein of form, he only got a chance when Shubman Gill was injured.

And three days after watching his teammates get stuck in the middle overs of the World Cup final, Ishan was at the forefront of India’s biggest successful T20 run-chase ever against Australia in Vizag. The 39-ball 58 was an innings that showed that Ishan has managed to retain the hunger, despite warming the bench for most of India’s matches since the Asia Cup despite being among the most in-form batsmen.

Despite several first-choice players skipping the T20 series against the Aussies, Ishan didn’t get his favourite position at the top. If Gill had snatched it away in ODIs, it was Yashasvi Jaiswal doing likewise in 20-over cricket.

But herein also lies Ishan’s biggest strength – unlike most of his contemporaries in the national set-up – Ishan is the most flexible of them, capable of batting anywhere in the top five. That he is aggressive at all positions only increases his utility.

IND vs AUS Visakhapatnam: India’s Ishan Kishan celebrates his half century with captain Suryakumar Yadav during the first T20 International cricket match of a T20I series between India and Australia, at the Dr. Y. S. Rajashekar Reddy ACA–VDCA International Cricket Stadium, in Visakhapatnam, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

The only major criticism of Ishan, the T20 batsman, in the past has been that he doesn’t always play to the situation and doesn’t show respect to bowlers when the situation demands so. But in ODIs, when he has had to bat overs, Ishan has shown he can do it. And in Vizag, he proved he could do it in T20s too. Out of the first 12 deliveries he faced, Jason Behrendorff tested him for an entire over.

Festive offer

A seamer testing Ishan: Nothing new about it. But there was something different when Behrendorff sent down the first ball of his next over. The old Ishan would have tried to do something to break the shackles by charging down the track or going for a shot that would have brought about his downfall. However, he just clipped it for a single before dropping his hands at the last minute to the next ball. He was 4 off the first 12 balls he had faced. But, he was playing to the situation, especially after both Ruturaj Gaikwad and Jaiswal had fallen quickly while chasing a target of 209.

Familiarity and comfort

From there on, Ishan – with Suryakumar Yadav, a batting partner who he’s comfortable with thanks to his stint with Mumbai Indians – would go about doing what he knows best. He would play second fiddle for a while, going at less than a run a ball for the first 21 balls he faced.

India, having recovered from the bad start, now needed 130 runs off 72 deliveries. And it was in the ninth over that Ishan would signal his intent, going after leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, who offered him the right match-up to come out on top, as a boundary and two sixes came in the space of three deliveries.

IND vs AUS India’s Ishan Kishan plays a shot during the first T20 cricket match between India and Australia in Visakhapatnam, India, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

“Being a lefty batter and a leg-spinner bowling, (I had to take a chance). I knew how the wicket was because I kept for 20 overs. So the counterattack was very much needed. When you’re chasing a total like 209, you need to take on a bowler, you need to target bowlers whom you can hit. You can’t give too many runs to the backend batters, it won’t be easy for them to straightaway come and play those big shots. So I had to take my chances and I believed in myself. What I have done in my practice sessions was very much at play here when I had to go for a big shot,” Ishan said after the match.

It was this over in which the momentum began to shift as at both ends India had batsmen who were now going into fifth gear. With the asking rate just a little over 10, the two senior-most batsmen in the side would go about their business without breaking a sweat.

“Have played with Surya bhai, we are in the same team in the IPL also, so I know how he plays, what shots he can play. Felt the communication was very good today in the middle. We were talking to each other about which bowlers we have to target and when we have to, you know, keep on rotating the strike. So the communication and overall planning, the way we executed all our plans that we were talking about in the middle, was great. That partnership was a time when I thought we were in the game,” Ishan said.

Of course, the partnership would not finish the game, ending in the 13th over, but by then the job was half done.





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