IPL 2024: ‘Still sinking it in’, says Punjab Kings' Shashank on match-winning knock against GT

Shashank Singh, who was instrumental in the Punjab Kings (PBKS) victory against Gujarat Titans

Ahmedabad, April 5 (IANS) Shashank Singh, who was instrumental in the Punjab Kings (PBKS) victory against Gujarat Titans (GT) feels great to pull off the match for the Kings in a thrilling UPL 2024 encounter at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

Coming down at number six, Shashank with his breathtaking batting performance of not out 61 runs in 29 deliveries sealed the match for Kings with three wickets and one ball left. His partnership with debutant Ashutosh Sharma was the key as both batters added 43 runs off a mere 22 deliveries. Punjab were reeling on 70 for 4 when Shashank walked out to bat in the ninth over of the chase of 200.

Shashank scored his maiden IPL half-century in just 25 deliveries, and it came when it mattered the most. He took down Umesh Yadav for a boundary, maximum, and a boundary in the 11th over of the chase. Shashank regularly collected boundaries of some prime bowlers of the league–like Rashid Khan and Mohit Sharma.

“Still trying to sink it in. I have visualised all these things, you visualise them before a match. But obviously turning it into reality, I am feeling very happy and proud of myself. I bat at No. 7 but today I batted at No. 5. The bounce was very good, 200 scored by both teams so the wicket was fantastic,” he said at the post-match presentation.

Shashank stitched up the partnership of 39 runs in 19 deliveries with Jitesh Sharma, in which the latter smoked two maximums in the 17th over of Rashid Khan before getting out. He then went on to partner with debutant Ashutosh Sharma and added 43 match-winning partnerships.

“They are the legends of the game, but when I go to bat I think I am the best. You get experience, couldn’t get a lot of matches before. Here the owners and coaching staff backed me. I was very confident,” he added.

Kings captain Shikhar Dhawan was in full praise of Shashank’s batting and called it magnificent. “Magnificent. When you are chasing that big a total, you have to keep the momentum going and I feel the way Shashank played and hit those sixes effortlessly, that showed his class. He timed the ball so nicely, it looked quite effortless and at the same time he kept his cool and finished the game,” the skipper said.

Of the 63 that Shashank scored on Thursday, 51 came from the GT’s prime bowlers including Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Noor Ahmad, and Rashid Khan. The most was of Mohit against whom Shashank scored 22 off 11 deliveries.

“Rashid and Noor are world-class spinners. I was trying to read them from the hand. I don’t improvise too much. You won’t see me play the scoop, reverse sweep much. Obviously, I saw videos of them yesterday, but playing them in the match is a different feel. I was backing my shots. I had the same plan for Mohit bhai. His back-of-the-hand [slower balls] are very good, plus he uses the bouncer well. My plan was to just react to the ball and keep my mind as calm as possible,” Shashank told the broadcasters after the game.



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