Indian seamer Deepak Chahar has opened up about his match-winning knock (69* off 82 balls) in the recent ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Speaking to his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, Chahar recalled that he had gone into the middle with the mindset of playing as many overs as possible and taking the game deeper. He said:
"Finally I got an opportunity to bat in one match (smiles) and made good use of it. When I padded up, I saw wickets falling and then when I was next. I was not thinking about winning the match, I was just thinking about playing all the overs so that we can take the match closer, and when the match gets close, anything can happen."
Chahar came to the crease after India lost their sixth wicket in the form of Suryakumar Yadav and there were still 116 runs left to be knocked off. The right-hander recalled playing very defensively during the initial phase of his innings as he ensured he saw off the main threat in Wanindu Hasaranga.
Chahar added that he kept looking at the scoreboard, and it was only after the number of deliveries left got less that he started to play some strokes.
"I started very defensively. I remember I defended a few full tosses also. That particular match, I was playing what the situation demanded. I was taking the risk on the weakest bowler of that team. Hasaranga and Chameera were bowling really well, so my target was to play them off and target other bowlers."
"After every over, I was looking at the scoreboard. After every over, I used to see how many balls left, how many runs and do I need to take risk? When the runs went ahead of balls, I started hitting a few shots."
Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19* off 28 balls) added 84 runs for the 8th wicket to guide India to a series-clinching win in the 2nd ODI.
"Very well played!"- Deepak Chahar recalls MS Dhoni's message after his knock
The swing bowler also recalled getting a message from his CSK skipper MS Dhoni after his match-winning knock.
"After that innings, he (MS Dhoni) messaged me for batting- 'Very well played!' so that was a very good moment for me," revealed Chahar.
He stated that MS Dhoni had picked him in the CSK squad for his batting while also recalling a game from the 2018 season when MSD promoted him in the batting order.
"He picked me in the team because of my batting only. When I was in the Pune side (RPSG), I was picked as a batting all-rounder. In 2018, he sent me before him in one of the games. In that game, I scored 40 odd runs. After that, I didn't get much opportunity, so I was waiting for my chance."
Chahar hasn't got many opportunities to showcase his batting ability for both CSK and Team India as he normally bats at the 9th or 10th spot. He has largely played T20Is for India in his career.
Deepak Chahar was surprisingly omitted from the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup. However, he is one of three reserve players alongside Shreyas Iyer and Shardul Thakur in the team.