I batted with a lot of common sense at MCG: Shikhar Dhawan
Following his Man-of-the-Match performance against South Africa in the Pool B World Cup encounter at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has said that the team’s ploy to see off the pacers in the initial stages of the game and then take the attack to the opposition turned the match in their favour.
Dhawan scored a 147-ball 136 and was ably assisted by Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane along the way as India posted 307 runs on the board and then restricted the Proteas to 177/10 in 40.2 overs to win the game by 130 runs.
Dhawan, in an interview with BCCI.tv, said: “We didn’t want to give them a wicket early on in the innings and we knew we could always accelerate later on in the innings if we didn’t get the runs in the initial stages of the game. Being patient was important and we kept building partnerships regularly.
“Virat Kohli and I shared a century stand and I have to say Virat played beautifully. Once he got out, my aim again was to build a partnership with Ajinkya Rahane. There were phases when the game did go slow, but it was important for us to play that phase out with a lot of patience.
“Once Ajinkya got set he began to accelerate and got the tempo of the game up. It was an incredible innings by Ajinkya. We had an aim to build partnerships at every stage of the innings and we achieved that.”
‘Never lost belief in my abilities’
There were many questions raised about his personal form before the start of the quadrennial event, and the opener revealed that he tried to remain as calm as possible during the testing phase and was always confident about returning to run-scoring ways.
“I tried my best to stay calm during that phase. I never got afraid or troubled when runs were not coming off my bat. I always had the belief that the tough days will be followed by the good ones. It was important for me to stay mentally calm and stable at that time.
“I feel the calmness in my temperament has reflected in my batting and helped me get the results. I never felt I was not batting well during that phase. I was getting out in the 20s and 30s. Now, I am converting those starts into big knocks. I am glad that I am doing so at a big stage like the World Cup,” he said.
‘MCG knock better than the one in Cardiff’
The century at the MCG was the left-hander’s second against the Proteas in ODIs; his first one had come during the Champions Trophy in 2013 – a match-winning 114.
When asked to compare the two efforts, he placed his most recent performance over the one in Cardiff. He was also quick to add about how he has improved as a batsman since that innings.
“I would rate this century a notch higher than the one I got at Cardiff. Today I played with a lot of common sense. I put a lot of thought into my batting and I feel I have matured a lot since that knock. I feel I have a better understanding of the game now and I have learnt with time. I am sure my game will only get better from here,” he said.