Bengaluru, October 17: Shikhar Dhawan and the Delhi Capitals fans might have felt their hearts beating like an African drum when umpire KN Ananthapadmanabhan raised his finger after MS Dhoni appealed for a caught behind off Sam Curran. Dhawan was batting on 99 then.
A personal milestone was within touching distance, Dhawan's maiden IPL hundred. But from a team's perspective, the Capitals needed Dhawan in the middle as they still required 18 runs from 7 balls to win the IPL 2020 match against the Chennai Super Kings.
Dhawan went upstairs and third umpire C Shamshuddin could not find edge on the HotSpot and the on-field umpire had to reverse the decision. The left-hander duly completed his first IPL hundred in the next ball with a single off Curran.
The sequence of events of before Dhawan got his hundred was in a nutshell showcased his innings laced with waffles of fortune. Dhawan was given reprieves thrice in his innings by MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja, all good fielders and safe catchers. Perhaps, Dhawan was destined to cross the three-figure mark this night, there could be no other way of saying it.
At times, such series of spills can upset the concentration of a batsman, forcing him into some silly mistakes. But Dhawan kept those blips aside.
"I keep my mindset quite positive. I just look to score runs, and not think of the pitch. I play with courage. I am not afraid to get out. For me, fitness is very important. We were lucky we got so much time off (due to the lockdown and lack of sports due to Covid 19 pandemic), so it allowed me to refresh myself both mentally and physically. I am running faster, feeling fresher," said Dhawan in the post-match presentation.
With this hundred, Dhawan has crossed the 300-mark, currently standing on 359 runs from 9 matches at an average of 51.28 and made at a strike-rate of 143.02. It was not that Dhawan was completely out of touch earlier in the IPL 2020.
Dhawan was making all those 20s and 30s but was not able to convert them into something more substantial. On Saturday, Dhawan did not miss the mark. There were shots all around the park, especially those cut shots and he made 16 runs off them with three fours.
But the most remarkable shot was a short-arm jab he played off Curran that sailed over long-on for a six. It carried the essence of Dhawan's batting - impeccable timing.
"It is very special. I have been playing for 13 years, and this is the first hundred and so I am really happy. At the start of the season, I was hitting the ball well but I wasn't converting those 20s into 50s. Once you do that, you take that confidence into the next game," said Dhawan.
It was not a flawless innings by any stretch of imagination but the fortitude Dhawan showed to exploit an opportunity will make him an even stronger batsman. Delhi Capitals will be a more feared opposition for that.