Sri Lanka vs India: Deepak Chahar recalls Rahul Dravid's motivational words after heroic 69 in 2nd ODI
A few eyebrows were raised when Deepak Chahar walked into bat at No. 7 ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar when India were in a spot of bother at 193 for 7 in chase of 276 in the 2nd ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Tuesday. But in the Indian dressing room, head coach Rahul Dravid, it seems, made a conscious decision to send the Chennai Super Kings bowler to the middle.
The decision worked wonders as Deepak Chahar came up with a heroic knock, hitting 69 not out -- his maiden ODI hundred. Chahar added an unbeaten 84-run stand for the 8th wicket with Bhuvneshwar Kumar to seal an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the 3-match ODI series.
Deepak Chahar showcased a lot of composure and remained calm even as Sri Lanka were slipping in a few tight overs after the wicket of Krunal Pandya which most thought was the end of India's chances in the 2nd ODI. Chahar kept moving the scoreboard during the initial phase of his partnership with Bhuvneshwar and stepped on the accelerator after the 43rd over. Deepak hit 7 boundaries and a six as India registered their 10th successive win over Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in ODI cricket.
Speaking after the match-winning knock, Deepak Chahar said Rahul Dravid trusted his batting abilities after having seen him perform for India A during the latter's tenure as the coach.
"Rahul sir told me to play all the balls. I've played a few innings with India A and I think he has belief in me. He told me he thinks I'm good enough to be a No. 7," Chahar said.
"He has belief in me. Hopefully, in the coming matches I don't have to bat. When we came under 50 is when I believed we can win. Before that, it was ball by ball. I took some risks after," he added.
I was dreaming of playing a knock like this: Chahar
India had gunned down 263 in just 36.4 overs in the first ODI on Sunday but their top-order was jolted. The likes of Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan and captain Shikhar Dhawan went early after which Suryakumar Yadav and Manish Pandey joined hands for the rescue act.
However, India kept losing wickets and when Krunal fell for 35, Sri Lanka's camp was the happier one. But as Chahar kept knocking off the runs, the mood in the hosts' camp changed with head coach Mickey Arthur cutting a frustrated figure.
Stressing that it was his dream to play a knock as the one he played in Colombo, Chahar added: "It was a decent score [to chase] on this wicket. Only one thing that was going on in my mind: this is the kind of innings I've been dreaming of. No better way to win the match for the country."
Having sealed the 3-match series 2-0, India will eye a clean sweep when the two teams met on Friday, July 23 at the same venue.