Ranchi, Oct 10 (IANS) Left-handed batter Ishan Kishan was one of the main architects in India's seven-wicket win over South Africa in Ranchi on Sunday, with a scintillating 93 off 84 balls in a challenging chase of 279. Kishan smashed four fours and seven sixes apart from sharing a 161-run stand with Shreyas Iyer (113 not out) to give India a series-levelling win.
But one of the standout aspects of Kishan's knock on Sunday was his takedown of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who had dismissed him in the first ODI at Lucknow.
Sensing an opportunity to shift gears in the chase, Kishan stepped up when he pulled Keshav Maharaj over deep mid-wicket for six, before dancing down the pitch twice to smack a brace of sixes in the same region. From there onwards, the match was firmly in India's grasp to chase the total with 25 balls to spare.
'I was waiting for something to happen. When I played the first over of Maharaj, I realised (pitch) wasn't assisting (the spin bowlers) much. Till the time the ball was fresh, I felt we needed to take two-three chances before it became old because at times when you attack, the bowlers also try and sway from their line and length to save themselves from conceding more.
'That's when you get more easy boundaries. I thought it would become easier for Iyer as well and how I can rotate for him. The plan was simple, if a left-arm spinner is bowling, I'd take the chance first and try and put pressure on them, which worked in our favour,' said Kishan in the post-match press conference.
That being a home boy in an international match in Ranchi and playing tons of domestic matches at the venue previously did come into picture on Sunday. 'We were speaking that in their team, there were two left-arm spinners. As a leftie batter, my first instinct was to take a chance and remove pressure on my team and put that on their bowlers.
'Kept things simple as I've played so many matches in Ranchi, I know the wicket. Mostly in the second innings, the wicket becomes slow. But when we came out for the practice session (on Saturday), the dew factor was also there and we felt that would not let the pitch change much (in the second innings).'
Kishan's knock in Ranchi saw him score 62.37 of his runs via boundaries despite playing 41 dot balls at a strike-rate of 110.71. After the takedown of Maharaj, he continued to smash sixes via pulls off Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje though the shot would cause his downfall off left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin on 93.
'We needed five off two balls and I got out for 99 in the (2020) IPL. If I thought about rotating the strike, then it would have been difficult to win. As far as rotating strike is concerned, some players have the strength to rotate the strike, my strength is to hit sixes. I hit sixes effortlessly and not many can do that, which is my strength. If I do the job by hitting sixes, there's no need to think about rotating the strike much.'
'If your strength is hitting sixes then go for it, what's the need of rotating the strike just for the sake of it. But yes there will be time when rotating the strike would be key with wickets falling at the other end. Obviously, rotation is very important and the practice for the same will come from practice sessions. But if your strength is hitting sixes and you get the ball to do so then you don't need to rotate. Just hit a six.
'Obviously, it's disappointing to miss a hundred but I think 93 was a big contribution to the team. It was very important to give the momentum to the team and keep the team in the zone so that there's less pressure on the next batters,' concluded Kishan.
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