Bhuvneshwar Kumar, whose unbeaten 84 run stand with Deepak Chahar helped India seal the series win, revealed that he and Chahar were not thinking about victory, but were rather trying to take the game deep. Bhuvneshwar also lavished praise on Chahar, who he felt justified being promoted to No.8.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in the past, has been involved in a match-winning lower-order partnership in the Rainbow Nation, but few gave him and India a chance when he walked in to bat alongside Deepak Chahar. Chasing 276, the visitors were in all sorts at 193/7, and Sri Lanka looked like they were on course to beating India for the first time at home in 9 years. However, both Bhuvneshwar and Chahar, unflustered by the situation, batted, batted and batted.
Taking it over-by-over, the duo kept nudging singles around and mixed it up with boundaries to keep the Lankans on their toes. They stuck to this mantra for an hour and a half, and before they knew it, the duo dragged India to a remarkable win with nearly an over to spare. The Bhuvneshwar-Chahar partnership on Tuesday was one of India’s all-time great lower-order partnerships, and speaking in the press conference after the game, the senior partner, Bhuvi, revealed that he and Chahar solely focused on taking the game deep, not being bothered about anything else.
“…Our aim was to play till the last ball, last over, so we wanted to take it as deep as possible, so we can score runs. The only plan was to play till the last, and the way Deepak batted was amazing,” Bhuvneshwar said at the post-match virtual press conference.”
“The only chat and plan was to play till the end. We never said to each other that from here on, we can win. Even when we needed 1 run (3 runs), we were taking one ball at a time. Deepak never let the run rate go above six,” Bhuvneshwar said.
“He almost played risk-free shots, where he got few boundaries and brought the required rate to under six. At no stage did we think that we are going to win or lose. We were playing according to the situation and taking it ball by ball.”
Many expected Bhuvneshwar to come out to bat when Suryakumar Yadav perished, but, surprisingly, it was Deepak Chahar who came in at No.8. And the Rajasthan man justified his promotion, striking an unbeaten 69 to guide the side home. Bhuvneshwar revealed that it was Rahul Dravid’s decision to promote Chahar, and expressed that the 28-year-old justified his promotion through the immaculate showing.
“Look, he has played under coach Rahul Dravid before in India A or some series and he had scored there as well. So, Dravid knew that he can bat and he can hit a few balls, so that was his Dravid’s call.”
“And the way he batted, Chahar proved it right. We all know that he can bat, he has batted in Ranji Trophy many times, so it wasn’t a tough call but it is good to see the way he scored the runs.”
Bhuvneshwar proved to be a gun with the bat, but with the ball, however, he was off-colour for the most part. His pace was down throughout the innings, and, like in the first ODI, he was taken apart at the death by Chamika Karunaratne. Bhuvneshwar said that the hot and humid conditions made it difficult for the Indian seamers, but insisted that he was satisfied with his own performance.
“And as far as my bowling is concerned, in both the matches, it has been batting friendly conditions and extremely hot. It becomes difficult for bowlers. I’m satisfied with the way I’ve bowled,” Bhuvneshwar said.
The Indian vice-captain also clarified that Hardik Pandya has no fitness troubles. The all-rounder was seen sitting on his haunches and clutching his back during the first innings, but Bhuvneshwar confirmed that the Baroda man is not carrying a niggle.
“…As much as I know, there is no niggle or concern. So, I’m sure he’s fine.”