IPL 2024: Cummins’ Gut Feel To Introduce Shahbaz & Abhishek Certainly Changed Complexion Of The Game, Says Helmot

(MENAFN- IANS) Chennai, May 25 (IANS) After Sunrisers Hyderabad outclassed Rajasthan Royals by 36 runs in Qualifier 2 to enter IPL 2024 final, assistant coach Simon Helmot felt skipper Pat Cummins' gut feel decision to introduce Shahbaz Ahmed and Abhishek Sharma in the bowling attack was a certain game changer in the match.

The spin duo of Shahbaz (3-23) and Abhishek (2-24) collectively bowled nine overs, conceding only 57 runs on a pitch that became dry, and with dew not there, the duo made merry to take five wickets collectively as RR suffered a batting meltdown, going from 65/2 to 92/6. Eventually, RR made 139/7, as SRH successfully defended 175/9 to enter their third IPL final.

“I think he decided at the time where he felt, given the conditions, we could use Shahbaz Ahmed. There were two right-handers in and he felt the unorthodox spinner would be a good option to work one end. And the Abhishek one, I haven't asked Pat this.”

“But I dare say it may have been a gut feeling, and if that's the case, what a wonderful decision it was because it certainly changed the complexion of the game,” said Helmot in the post-match press conference.

Further talking of Ahmed's all-round utilities helping SRH after coming into the team post a pre-season trade from RCB, Helmot remarked, "Don't know the background about how it was done, but I do know he is a multi-skilled player, very experienced, bats at the top of the order, or the middle order, and can bowl nearly anywhere in the innings.”

"I think when the opportunity (to trade) was presented, the decision-makers were very wise in making that trade. He's played a lot of games for us and has been an important element, besides being a versatile one alongside Nitish Reddy, which makes it easier when it comes to squad balance."

“We probably had lost too many wickets, so we needed a batter to come in and we knew how skilled Shahbaz is with the ball as well. So we were getting a multi-skilled player in that position.”

“We needed to get another partnership or two at the back end to try and get a competitive total and he helped us out with that. What he did with the ball was fantastic, that was brilliant. He's had his best day for the Sunrisers.”

In the previous IPL season, SRH finished at the bottom of the points table, but this year, under Cummins' leadership, they are now in the title clash, where they face Kolkata Knight Riders at Chennai on Sunday.

“He's a practical guy, very humble, very empathetic with his fellow teammates and coaching staff. He's into the statistics, he gets the information he needs against a particular opposition in certain conditions. He doesn't waste time in meetings.”

“We think our team meeting (before the game) went for 35 seconds, but a lot of information has already been spoken about. There's a lot of one-on-one conversations, there's a lot of one-on-one discussions. I suppose we try to limit the large group meetings, but we still have them and we need them,” concluded Helmot.



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