New Delhi: Right-handed batsman Vishnu Solanki, who hit a helicopter shot a la MS Dhoni off the last ball in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 quarter-final against Haryana, to take Baroda to win and into the semi-finals, said that he had practiced the stroke in the quarantine period just for the 'death' overs for domestic limited-overs tournaments.
The No.3 batsman hammered a 46-ball 71 to make easy work of Haryana's 148-run total.
"Actually, I practiced a lot and worked very hard for the helicopter shot for the T20 format. Whenever I used to get free time after practice, I would practice this shot in the hope that it would help me in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy," Solanki told IANS on Wednesday.
Baroda were 131/2 after 19 overs, and needed 17 runs off the last over from medium pacer Sumit Kumar. Solanki got just two singles off the first two balls. Baroda needed 15 off the last three balls and Solanki, back on strike, hit a six and a four and followed it up with the helicopter shot for a six to seal the game in Baroda's favour.
"I had learnt this shot especially for the 'death' overs because during the last few overs of the innings, a fast bowler generally tries to bowl yorkers. In the last four-five overs, the bowlers go for the yorkers. That is why I learnt this shot. I had been working hard on this shot for the last three-four months in Baroda. I used to see Mahi bhai. I also thought I should try something different. I thought it will be apt for T20 cricket," added Solanki who has played 24 first-class games, 32 List A games and 39 T20s.
"I first practiced the shot with tennis ball at the nets. Then I tried it with cricket ball. You need perfect timing for this shot as well as focus. You should know what bowlers are bowling," he said.
Solanki had tried this shot in the league-stage games of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy too. He made an unbeaten 33-ball 59 against Gujarat, a 17-ball 28 vs Maharashtra, and an unbeaten 33-ball 42 against Chhattisgarh. These knocks followed a duck against Himachal Pradesh and six against Uttarakhand.
"This is my natural game," he said on being asked about his aggressive batting. "I tried these shots in the league games too. Whenever I batted in the 'death' overs of the tournament, I have tried these shots."
By Khurram Habib
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