Colombo, July 21: Young India fast bowling all-rounder Deepak Chahar turned out to be an unlikely batting hero as his 69 not out inspired by an MS Dhoni-style run chase guided Team India to a thrilling ODI series-clinching win over Sri Lanka by three wickets on Tuesday (July 20).
Chasing a target of 276 in 50 overs, the Indian batting side - which coasted to an emphatic victory with 80 balls to spare in the first match - were left reeling 193 for 7. Sri Lanka spinner Wanindu Hasaranga's magical display of leg-spin (3 for 37) ensured the visitors always had a catching up to do in the game that looked in the Lankans grip.
However, it was Chahar's resilience and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's calm demeanour coupled with the hosts' inability to close in the game due to their inexperience that resulted in a famous win for the Men In Blue.
Chahar who walked into the middle at number eight ended up scoring an unbeaten 69 to post the second-highest score by anyone in ODI for his country batting at number eight or lower.
The Rajasthan all-rounder, who had the highest first-class score of 57 not out, rode his luck at times and found a willing ally in fellow pacer Bhuveneshwar Kumar (19 not out), before swiping the winning runs through midwicket off Kasun Rajitha from the first ball of the final over.
Chahar also took 2-53 with the ball and began in a more customary new-ball partnership with Kumar. The way Chahar and Bhuvneshwar fashioned India's run chase at R Premadasa Stadium, many were reminded of former India cricketer, MS Dhoni. The way these two overhauled the target and steered the team with such ease from troubled waters, had the Chennai Super Kings captain's signature all over it. Chahar was awarded player of the match for his all-round show.
Understandably so, both Bhuvneshwar (in the national side) and Chahar (in CSK squad) have spent a lot of time in the dressing room with the legendary India cricketer and picked up his brains.
Here's how the cricketing fraternity hailed Deepak Chahar for showcasing cricket of the highest quality under pressure.
Great win by the boys. From a tough situation to pull it off was an amazing effort. Great to watch. Well done DC and Surya. Tremendous knocks under pressure. 🇮🇳— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) July 20, 2021
Wow ! Even some of our bench strength is good enough to beat an international side !! What a win lads 👏🏽🇮🇳 @deepak_chahar9 you can bat 👊🏽 @surya_14kumar got a find a place for this talent in top 11 !congratulations skipper @SDhawan25 #rahuldravid and the whole team #INDvSL— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) July 20, 2021
India have a spot open for the bowler who can bat at 8. Deepak Chahar has just done a magnificent audition for that role.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 20, 2021
That was some performance by team India. Solid grit shown right through @bcci— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) July 20, 2021
Congratulations boys 👏 Solid fight out there. Grit and determination 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/lYhJ9koiOP— Shreyas Iyer (@ShreyasIyer15) July 20, 2021
Ohhh Wow just wow— Munaf Patel (@munafpa99881129) July 20, 2021
What a stunning performance by #TeamIndia Simply amazing
Superb innings showcase by @deepak_chahar9 @surya_14kumar
& Role of mentor played by @BhuviOfficial was outstanding
Last but not list Good to see #RahulDravid on screen#INDvSL pic.twitter.com/Rko0gGaYvx
Definitely a day to cherish 🇮🇳🇮🇳 Proud of each and every member of this team 💪 pic.twitter.com/NnrHHZsPLs— Yuzvendra Chahal (@yuzi_chahal) July 20, 2021
Two calm fast bowlers in a run chase! This is absolutely top class batting under pressure from Chahar and Bhuvi— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 20, 2021
Deepak Chahar showed today he is a sharp and smart fighter. He is mentally strong and very entertaining - he brings a bit of mohalla cricket to the international field. Playing with the world's best finisher Dhoni at CSK also helps. #SLvIND pic.twitter.com/2bFuyvZRE1— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 20, 2021
Deepak Chahar is the story of belief. Never say die. Never give up. Chamakte Raho Deepak ki tarah, Chahar 🥳😊👏 #SLvsIND— Wear a Mask. Stay Safe, India (@cricketaakash) July 20, 2021
Have seen Deepak Chahar do it for Rajasthan before , glad to see him do this at the international stage too. Bowler who can bat like this is worth his weight in gold . #SLvsIND— Deep Dasgupta (@DeepDasgupta7) July 20, 2021
Learnt it under the best👍— Pragyan Ojha (@pragyanojha) July 20, 2021
Sanjay Manjrekar on Team India's win in 2nd ODI: "It's the legacy that the likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli have had on Indian cricket. The belief they have they can win a cricket match from any position... A superb win for India." #SLvIND#SLvsIND— myKhel.com (@mykhelcom) July 20, 2021
Deepak Chahar has learned a thing or two from his time at CSK. This is a knock Dhoni would be immensely proud off! #SLvIND— Raunak Kapoor (@RaunakRK) July 20, 2021