‘Told Surya, I’m gonna take this guy down’: Ishan Kishan after smashing Australia spinner Tanveer Sangha in 1st T20I

Written by Shreyas Vyas

When chasing a daunting target like 209 in a T20I, you need multiple contributors with the bat and India had exactly that in the first T20I against Australia in Visakhapatnam. Leading India for the first time, Suryakumar Yadav once again showed why he is the current best batter in this format by some distance by smashing 80 off just 42 balls to always keep his side in the hunt for chasing down the mammoth total. After Surya’s dismissal, there was a stutter in the end but Rinku Singh made sure the result went in India’s favour with an impactful unbeaten 21 off 14 balls. Four days after the defeat in the ODI World Cup final, India beat Australia in the series-opening T20I by pulling off their highest successful run-chase in the format on Thursday.

It was possible because of complete teamwork as far as batting was concerned. While Surya and Rinku will surely get the lion’s share of credit, one shouldn’t forget the contribution that Ishan Kishan made or the headstart that Yashasvi Jaiswal gave. The young opener was involved in a terrible mix-up with Ruturaj Gaikwad that ended the latter’s innings without facing a ball but Jaiswal’s quickfire 22 off 8 balls allowed India breathing space in the powerplay.

Kishan made full use of that. He started off his innings by playing out a maiden over against Jason Behrendorff but because of Jaiswal’s brisk knock at the other end, it did not hurt India and when Kishan got his eyes, he targetted the Australian bowlers, especially leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha to provide the ideal support to Surya.

Kishan did not let the young leg-spinner settle at all. He used the slog sweep to good effect and smashed him for a couple of sixes and a four in the 9th over of India’s chase. Australia captain Matthew Wade had to take Sangha off the attack. But he brought him back in the 13th over and Kishan got stuck into the leg-spinner again, hitting him for a four and a six towards the deep mid-wicket. Although Sangha had the last laugh by taking Kishan’s wicket in the next ball by going wide of the stumps, the damage was already done.Kishan had smashed 58 off 39 balls and his 111-run stand for the third wicket with Surya had given India the advantage in the chase. After the match, the left-hander, who played only two matches in India’s ODI World Cup campaign, said it was planned that he would attack Sangha.

“During the World Cup, when I wasn’t playing, I asked myself before every practice session ‘What is important for me now? What I could do?’ I practised a lot in nets. I was co instantly talking to the coaches about the game, how to take the game deep. How to target certain bowlers. Being a lefty against leg-spinner, I know how the wicket was as I had kept for 20 overs. When you are chasing 209, you need to target a bowler, who you can hit. The communication was very important in the middle. I had a chat with Surya bhai. ‘I’m gonna take this guy (down) wherever he bowls’ because we needed the close the gap between runs and balls. You can’t leave too many runs for the batters at the back. It won’t be easy for them to play the big shots straight away. I had to take my chances and I believed in myself,” he said.

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Shreyas Vyas