Delhi Capitals (DC) opener Shikhar Dhawan selflessly praised his team’s spin bowling all-rounder, Akshar Patel, for his contribution with both bat and ball on a day where Dhawan’s maiden IPL hundred stole the limelight in the victory over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Sharjah.
Akshar (21*) provided the final touches to DC’s wonderful response to CSK’s 179/4. The left-hander struck three sixes in the final over against left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja to take them through in a run-chase which had otherwise been shepherd by Dhawan’s outstanding 101 not out in 58 balls.
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In the first half as well, Akshar’s yet another economical four-over spell of 0/23 was key to DC restricting CSK to a more manageable target.
“Akshar Patel has been a great asset. Whenever we demand good overs from him, he does the job. He is normally very economical. Having a quality all-rounder makes a big difference,” said Dhawan at the post-match press conference on Saturday (October 17), as quoted by ANI.
“It is a great feeling, the best thing is that we are playing very good cricket, everyone is doing their job and it is a great sign for us.”
“We all stay hungry and we make sure that we focus on the process, we guys make sure that we stay fresh as well and not overdo things in practice,” he added.
Despite the smaller boundary dimensions, the run-making wasn’t as easy on a slowing surface, said Dhawan, adding, “We knew that the wicket was slow, when they were batting, we got to know about that. Our plan was to make use of the first six overs.”
“Unfortunately, we lost two wickets, we knew we were chasing a big target so we had to score regular boundaries and we all did a great job.”
“180 was a good score, that’s why the match went till the end. The ball was not coming on to the bat, it was stopping a bit,”
After enduring a poor run in the early part of the tournament, Dhawan has looked in fantastic touch. Talking about his performance on the night and form in last few games, he said: “I was always focussing on my process. I was playing well, I was staying positive and confident, (and) I have a great deal of experience behind me.”
“I was analysing what shots to bring in and especially with experience, I pick and choose what shots to play at what situation.”
“Sam Curran bowled very well in the 19th over, his yorker execution was very good. Dew was also there so we took an advantage of that as well.”
“We knew Bravo (injured) would not be able to bowl the last over and it would be bowled by Jadeja. We (him and Akshar Patel, who played the last over) being left-handers, we had a certain advantage against Jadeja,” he added.
At the top of the standings with seven wins in nine outings, DC next take on Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on Tuesday (October 20) in Dubai.