When Harshal Patel walked out to bat, the Delhi Daredevils were looking primed to suffer yet another defeat. Chennai Super Kings had reduced the hosts to 97 for 5 and were looking set to pile more misery on the hosts. However, the game changed soon and the architect of Delhi’s turnaround was none other than Harshal. Delhi went on to win thrash the Super Kings by 34 runs to register a much-needed morale-boosting win.
Harshal was yet to make a big mark in the IPL and one can say that he pretty much marked his arrival with this game. The 27-year-old gave a glimpse of his hitting prowess by smashing the experienced Dwayne Bravo for four sixes in the final over. He shared an unbeaten stand of 65 runs with Vijay Shankar to guide Delhi to a respectable 165 for 5.
In reply, only Ambati Rayudu managed some sort of rhythm in an otherwise sub-par batting display. The two-time IPL champions never got the impetus during the chase and consequently the required-rate kept on mounting. In the end, they were restricted to 128 for 6.
Speaking after the game, Harshal opened up on when he and Vijay Shankar decided to up the ante
“Basically we had a strategic timeout in the 16th over and we decided if we can get 140 – it can be a fighting total. And we can still get them out early and win a game. But the way Vijay and I batted in the last three overs was really special,” he said at a press conference.
The dew has always made life tough for the bowlers and the ongoing IPL is not an exception either. The teams have struggled to defend totals. However, Harshal observed that despite the dew factor coming into play during the second innings, the wicket didn’t get better to bat on.
“Even in the second innings when the dew came on, the wicket didn’t get a lot better, which it did in the last two games. So it was not coming onto bat. We decided that in the last two games, we had bowled too full. So we decided we don’t want to repeat that mistake, but stick to what we do best and hope for the best,” he said.
“I think defending on this ground is always difficult. But at the same time, if you have your plans and if you can stick to it, more often than not, you’re going to succeed. 160  was not a winning total, but we knew that if we show good energy, stick to our plans and field well, we have a good chance of winning,” he added.
The Daredevils bowlers had the major task of containing the in-form MS Dhoni and they did it brilliantly. The in-form Super Kings skipper never looked at ease and departed after scoring 12 off 23 balls.
“I mean we all knew what he can do and we knew what his strong zones were. So the plan was not to get hit in his strong zone. We wanted him to hit in areas where he is not really comfortable. So we came up with a plan [and that was] to bowl slow and wide and executed it really well,” he said.