Gujarat Titans batter B. Sai Sudharsan has credited his fabulous 47-ball 96 in the IPL final against Chennai Super Kings to a calm approach to his batting, saying his focus on the mental aspect of the game paid dividends.
Sudharsan's strokeful 96, laced with eight fours and six sixes, took GT to 214 for four and raised hopes of back-to-back title. But Ravindra Jadeja smashed a six and a four in the last two balls to help CSK chase down the revised target of 171 from 15 overs in the rain-affected summit clash on Monday.
“I felt a lot of pressure in the last game. I came to the realisation that being more calm is much better and I have the ability to do much better. I felt a bit more calm in this game,” Sudharsan said at the post-match press conference.
The 21-year-old Sudharsan said to be retired out in the Qualifier 2 against Mumbai Indians when he was on 43 was "personally worrying" but he knew it was a team decision.
“Personally, it will be definitely worrying, but it is a team decision and the way our batters were batting after Nos 3, 4, and 5, they have been explosive this season. I think that is pure and pure a team decision. It was definitely for the team‘s cause and I am hundred percent with it,” he said.
Asked about his batting approach in the final, the left-handed batter from Chennai said, “When Shubman (Gill) got out, it was all about taking the game a little deeper and keeping a check on the scoreboard as well. I was trying to take my chances and take the game deep as well.
“It was more about the mental aspect, how to get ready, how to be aware or how to decide what to do in that situation. I have worked on that a little bit and obviously in the skill part as well.”
Sudharsan finished as GT’s second most prolific batter, scoring 362 runs in eight matches with three fifties at an average of 51.71 and a strike rate of 141.40.
“Definitely, (I am) very happy and grateful to have contributed to the team, but a little bit sad also because the result was not on our side," said Sudharsan who has been rated highly by senior players like Ravichandran Ashwin.
He also credited GT and Tamil Nadu team-mate Vijay Shankar for providing his valuable inputs.
“We discussed a lot of cricket, particularly in this IPL. We shared thoughts with each other and it has helped me a lot. Even after the previous game, he gave me a few thoughts which were very useful for me to follow." Gujarat Titans’ team director Vikram Solanki said he was not going to take anything away from CSK, who beat his team for the record-equalling fifth IPL title.
“It may have done, but I’m not going to take anything away from CSK. Not today. They were the champions and they deserve to be the champions. We did all we could, we took the game to the absolute last ball.
"The game kept shifting. We were quite outstanding with the bat whether the conditions changed or not, that's a conversation you can keep having but I’m not going to take anything away from what the side has achieved,” Solanki said.
Solanki said star spinner Rashid Khan might have an off day in the final, giving away 44 runs in three overs, but that is a part of the sport.
“Today’s performance was certainly not his best, but sometimes that happens in sports. He (Rashid) is a wonderful team member and an outstanding team cricketer, he has played a huge part in the last two seasons that we have had,” he said.