Finishing touch is the key, in a piece of art, or, in a sporting act. The ‘killer’ punch that hands you a knockout verdict in boxing can be as intoxicating as a winning shot off the last ball in any form of cricket; a photo finish in the swimming pool or on the athletics track can leave the audience gasping, just as goal at the ‘death’ in hockey or football.
It is the finishing that is remembered. Michael Bevan was one of the craftiest finishers in cricket. He knew when to play the shots and when to scamper for ones and twos. It was a job he revelled in and came to patent it really, carrying Australia to some fine victories on the strength of his self-belief.
It is a specialised job. A century that does not help the team win the contest pales in comparison to a match-changing performance of even 25. Ask Manvinder Singh Bisla. He came so close to make an impact with his 92 against Chennai Super Kings but the end result was he failed to finish the game.
It hurt the team because he was in the best position to win the game for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). If he did not, he had a lesson to learn.
In contrast, David Warner has emerged a champion finisher in IPL-VI. His back-to-back ‘Man-of- the-Match’ performances here against Pune Warriors and KKR have propelled the Delhi Daredevils stroke player as the batsman to rely on.
He remembered what Sourav Ganguly used to remind his batsmen — “Don’t leave the job to others.” Warner took it upon himself to finish the game and he did it in style.
The closing stages of any match are often exciting. Here, the speciality factor comes into force as the bowler tries varieties, the slower one, the yorker, the bouncer or the slow bouncer.
The batsman has his favourite shot in mind and he waits, but not always. There are times when he must swing predetermined and it is here that the shot he would have worked on comes into play.
To be a finisher, what matters is a large heart. Warner has one, going for some daring shots. Ashish Nehra has one too, always prepared to bowl at the ‘death’ when some glamorous partners in the team prefer to finish their quota in the middle overs.
Warner indeed has shown the way and young Unmukt Chand, his colleague in the chase on Wednesday night, has learnt his lessons. “It was an education in finishing the game and I know I have to work on this aspect,” said Unmukt, one of the talented youngsters on the circuit.