IPL 2021: Shikhar Dhawan Breaks Barrier, Aces the Art of Quick Run-Making Against Chennai Superkings
Gone are the days when Shikhar Dhawan was known for his less than run-a-ball starts. Take IPL 2020 for example. Dhawan might have gotten a couple of centuries in the tournament, that too back-to-back, but a glaring loophole in his batting was ‘he ate up too many balls.’ His strike rate in the first seven games was 125. It looked high but in this day and age of lethal batting it was pretty ordinary. In their league games against Mumbai Indians he batted the full 20 overs and scored 69 off 52 balls. And this wasn’t an aberration. These were his scores leading to this game: 34 off 31 against SRH, 35 off 27 against Chennai, 32 off 28 against RCB. Also this was not limited to IPL, Dhawan was failing to cut loose in India jersey as well.
But then came two back-to-back centuries against Chennai and Hyderabad and he hadn’t looked the same since. The string of poor scores remained(A couple of ducks leading to Playoffs) but Dhawan wasn’t keeping any price on his wicket. If he wanted to go for the big shots, he went. And quite similar cavalier attitude was on display against Chennai Superkings at Wankhede in the first game of IPL 2021. A quick-fire start gave him room to slow down in the middle-overs and when just it looked like he is following a similar script, he went for the big shots again. Coming to the season opener, the Delhi cricketer knew he couldn’t take much time to settle down, so he went after Deepak Chahar in his very first over. Then came a huge six off Sam Curran. Dhawan was in no mood to hold himself back. As a result, Delhi Capitals raced to 50 in 4.4 overs. His contribution: 27.
This was in complete contrast to 2020 where Dhawan couldn’t quite able to maintain the momentum. Even as Shaw was going Hammer-and-Tongs, Dhawan was in no mood to play second-fiddle. By the time his innings ended at 85. His strike rate read 157, a marked improvement.
Coming to his technique, a very interesting change that he has used to his advantage is that he often clears his front leg and shuffles across his stumps. Usually a batsman does this to carve the ball to leg side but Dhawan uses this purely to unsettle a bowler. Last night he wasn’t afraid to shuffle on more than one occasions and bisect the gap between Covers and Backward Point quite effectively. Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo both were at the receiving end of it as when they altered their lengths, he shuffled across and carved them on the leg side. As the IPL progresses it needs to be seen whether he follows the similar script or improvises accordingly.