Rishi Dhawan: There’s a lot of effort behind this title win

Himachal Pradesh’s first domestic title is a result of the facilities provided by the HPCA in the last 10 years and the persistence of the players, says captain Rishi Dhawan.

Rishi Dhawan

Himachal Pradesh all-rounder Rishi Dhawan during a net session in 2019.   -  The Hindu

Captain Rishi Dhawan was delighted for his team as Himachal Pradesh defeated Tamil Nadu by 11 runs (VJD method) to win the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Sunday. It was the first-ever domestic cricket title for the hill state.

“There’s a lot of effort behind this win,” Rishi told broadcasters. 

“HPCA gave us a lot of facilities to use; in the last 10 years, they’ve built great infrastructure and the cricketers have groomed very well. The hard work is visible and the players are performing well. So, that’s great to see,” he said. 

Rishi continued his good run with the bat this season, scoring a quickfire 42 (23b) as HP accelerated well towards the business end to catch up with the required run-rate during its chase of 314. Shubham Arora (136, 131b, 13x4, 1x6) and Amit Kumar (74, 79b, 6x4) were the chief contributors to HP’s win, however, as they laid anchor without minimising the flow of runs, leaving HP with a reasonable task towards the end, with wickets in hand.

READ | Vijay Hazare Trophy Final: Himachal stuns mighty TN for maiden title

“After having played the last couple of games here, we knew that the pitch was good for batting and that the outfield was great, too, so if we batted 50 overs we could chase it down. So our plan was to play the full 50 overs. We were looking for a boundary each over, and singles for the rest of the deliveries in each over. And we wanted to keep wickets in hand as well,” he said. 

He revealed that he discussed a clear plan with Shubham when he came out to bat in the 42nd over, with 71 runs still required to win. “I told Shubham not to take any pressure on himself. I told him: ‘I’ll take all the pressure on myself. You just keep taking singles and giving the strike to me.’” 

Shubham, the player of the match, said he wanted to make use of the PowerPlay overs and had made up his mind to stick around till the end.

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“I had decided to cash in on the PowerPlay and I played my natural game. I played according to the needs of my team. After reaching 50, I thought my job wasn’t over and that I needed to stay till the end.”

TN captain Vijay Shankar lauded HP for its excellent performance. 

“I think the way they played was outstanding. Congrats to them.”

Shankar felt the fact that a few chances to dismiss HP's batters weren’t taken on the field – TN dropped two catches and fumbled a run-out opportunity – mattered in the final analysis.  

“It’s about picking wickets in the middle overs where we know we missed the trick and a couple of chances [weren't taken]. These things matter in finals. I should definitely give credit to my team for the way we played in the entire tournament. From Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy to the Vijay Hazare Trophy we played some outstanding cricket. Nothing to take away from my team,” he said. 

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