Bhuvneshwar Kumar has happy batting memories in Sri Lanka. After playing a sizeable part in India’s win in the second ODI in Colombo, the current vice-captain linked the situation in the second ODI to that of the side’s condition in the Pallekele ODI win against the same opposition in 2017.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and MS Dhoni were involved in a match-winning eighth-wicket stand.
Chasing 231 from 47 overs in that match, India were reduced to 131 for seven in the 22nd over, with spinner Akila Dananjaya claiming a six-for. Bhuvneshwar Kumar stitched an unbeaten century stand with MS Dhoni and registered his only ODI fifty in the process. India ended up winning the series 5-0.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar arrived in a precarious situation on Tuesday, with India seven down for 193 in the 36th over in their chase of 276. He added a run-a-ball unbeaten 84 with fellow pacer Deepak Chahar (69 runs off 82 balls) to see the side through.
“The situation was similar to that match (Pallekele 2017). We aimed to bat till the last over. We wanted to bat as deep as possible,” said Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the post-match press conference.
With a mastermind in MS Dhoni around in the 2017 ODI, the message from his former captain was simple – ‘bat like how do you do in Tests.” Bhuvneshwar Kumar followed the chase blueprint and ended up outscoring the chase master.
Four years later, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the team’s vice-captain, was the Deepak Chahar’s senior partner. He let the 28-year-old play his natural game and happily played the supporting role of 19 not out.
Deepak Chahar didn’t let the run-rate climb high: Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Revealing further on the chase, Bhuvneshwar Kumar revealed that the duo didn’t worry about the result and were batting one ball at a time. He also stated that his fellow pacer Deepak Chahar, who has quite a reputation as a lower-order batter, was doing his bit to keep the required run-rate in check.
“We didn’t think at any specific time that let’s take it on from here. We were batting one ball at a time. At any stage (during the partnership), we thought about winning or losing as the plan was to keep batting till the end and play according to the situation. Deepak [Chahar] wasn’t letting the required run-rate climb much above six and was playing his shots,” added Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has his name in the top two entries in India’s highest eighth-wicket partnerships.
The unbeaten 100-run stand between MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar remains India’s highest eighth-wicket stand in ODIs. His 84 not out stand with Deepak Chahar from the second ODI is now second-best for the eighth wicket, followed by a 84-run stand between Praveen Kumar and Harbhajan Singh against Australia at Baroda in 2009.