IPL 2020 : SRH hero Vijay Shankar says, ‘It was do or die game for me’

Chasing 154, Sunrisers Hyderabad was in complete dumps after losing both David Warner and Johny Bairstow early. Everyone was surprised as struggling Vijay Shankar came out to bat. Commentators on-air were questioning the move – ‘where was the need to send Shankar ahead of others, he is struggling for runs. He will put pressure on Manish Pandey as well who is looking in sublime touch’
Struggled continued, Shankar was very shaky for the first few balls. He could only score 9 off 15 balls. The decision to promote was falling flat but then the young all-rounder turned the tables. He stitched a brilliant 140 runs stand with Manish Pandey to garner life-saving victory for Sunrisers. 
“If you ask me personally, it was a do or die game for me. I’ve not had the best of time with the bat. I had to perform in this game. Fortunately or unfortunately we lost early wickets which made the team decide to send me up the order. Really happy to play such an innings.” 

Shankar finished the innings with a boundary, unbeaten on 52 off 51, while Manish dominated in a 47-ball 83 as the pair became the first Indian pair to add a century stand for SRH. Their unbeaten stand of 140 helped them chase the total down in 18.1 overs giving SRH the vital two points they were looking for and a win after three losses on the trot.

Jofra Archer had given the Rajasthan Royals a shot in the arm by dismissing both David Warner and Jonny Bairstow within three overs. With a fast and furious Archer, the plan for the pair was clear: they wanted to see him off and take on the leg-spinners (in Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia), along with the Indian pacers (Ankit Rajpoot and Kartik Tyagi). The sixth ball that Manish faced, he blasted through extra cover when offered width by Tyagi and there was no looking back for him, timing the ball beautifully. 

“Manish was hitting the ball really well early on. I had batted only 18 balls before this innings so it was important for me to stay at the wicket and give him the confidence that we can take the game deep,” said Shankar after the game. “We chatted in the middle about taking the game deep and I opened up and got a few boundaries and it made things easier for us. It was a good partnership and we had good communication and were running very well between the wickets too.” 

With Manish brandishing all the swords in his armoury, Shankar was happy to bide his time. In a half-century stand at one stage, Shankar had only contributed 7 runs. One wondered if Archer should’ve been persisted with for another over upfront after accounting for SRH’s openers for the shot at another wicket. When he returned for his second spell, SRH needed 61 off 54 deliveries. The pair was in a comfortable position to play to their plan and keep the required rate at a visible distance. 

“It was important for me to play a bowler like Jofra Archer in this situation because it gives me a lot of confidence. He was coming really hard at us. If you see in the second and third over, I played most of the balls he bowled. It was very important for me to play without getting out and score some runs as well which was important for me. 

SRH now has 8 points from 10 games and can still hope to qualify for IPL 2020 playoffs.