We have seen some spectacular run chases in this year’s IPL so far and some sensational matches which have produced some heroes as well. Among the Indian contingent, Gurkeerat Singh and Ajit Chandila were the two stars for their respective teams on Sunday.
There were similarities between the two youngsters, both were playing their second game of the season and produced match-winning performances for their respective sides.
While most of the batsmen in cricketing fraternity would like to stave off the last ball of Steyn’s spell, Gurkeerat Singh had the nerves of steel to steer the ball for a much needed boundary! With 20 needed off the last seven balls, Steyn fired a yorker and the man slashed the low full toss towards deep backward point for a boundary as an awestruck Steyn collected his cap from the umpire and disappeared to the outfield. By the end of the penultimate over, Gurkeerat Singh had moved to 13 from 8 balls and had left the last over for David Hussey who was batting on 62 from 33 balls.
Gony bowled the last over and Hussey managed a couple of the first ball. Hussey smashed the next ball towards long-on but managed just a single. By the time the Australian reached the non-striker’s end, he realized that maybe he had left too many runs for the youngster to handle. He turned and went to Singh with a smiling face without even an iota of worry and said something which would have boosted the confidence of the youngster. The Punjab dugout went silent as their only hope was now at the non-striker’s end with Punjab needing 13 from the last four balls.
Gurkeerat Singh was all set to face Gony who ran to dismantle his stumps. Gony bowled one outside off and with all the power he had, Gurkeerat smoked the ball over deep midwicket for a six! Punjab players for a second looked back to check if it was Hussey who was on strike. It was a fabulous hit and Hussey went to his team-mate and further encouraged him. The next ball, Gurkeerat went inside out and produced a fantastic boundary wide off sweeper cover. Hussey went up to him, with the similar smile and further bolstered his confidence. Gurkeerat scored a couple off the next ball and scores leveled with one ball remaining. The field was brought up and the adrenaline was high, but there was no stopping Gurkeerat Singh Mann who pulled the last ball as his team-mates ran to hug their new hero! Gurkeerat had played a gem of an innings where he remained unbeaten on 29 from just 12 balls.
In the previous match Ajit Chandila was not only included in the playing eleven, but Rahul Dravid asked him to bowl the first over. The youngster with a pretty ordinary action bowled an extraordinary first over in which he scalped the dangerous Jesse Ryder and skipper Sourav Ganguly. As he dismissed Uthappa off the first ball of his next over, he went for a never ending celebratory run, little did everyone realize that the unheralded lad from Faridabad, Haryana hero had just got his hat-trick!
Chandila ended a magical spell with figures of 4-0-13-4 and was the star of the Rajasthan innings. He later thanked his mentor Narendra Hirwani and Rahul Dravid for encouraging him in his second match.
What was special in both the matches was the confidence that both the skippers infused into these players. Dravid had the experience of Botha, Tait, Watson whom he could have asked to bowl the first over but he chose Chandila, who rose to the occasion and did something which none of the top bowlers have achieved this season so far-a hat-trick!
Likewise, Hussey who mistimed the second ball for a single towards long-on could have asked Gurkeerat to get him back on strike. Most of the skipper would have done that and would have troubled the youngsters with a list of ideas to get off strike. But the cool skipper didn’t show signs of worry and it was Hussey’s conduct towards Gurkeerat in those few minutes that brought the best out of the Punjabi lad.