Four IPL games in three years, Vijay Shankar comes good for Sunrisers Hyderabad | ipl 2017 | Hindustan Times
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Four IPL games in three years, Vijay Shankar comes good for Sunrisers Hyderabad

Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Vijay Shankar hit an unbeaten 63 to team up with skipper David Warner for an eight-wicket win over Gujarat Lions, which sealed the defending champions’ playoff spot.

ipl 2017 Updated: May 13, 2017 22:04 IST
Sharad Deep
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Vijay Shankar en route to scoring an unbeaten half-century against Gujarat Lions in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 match.
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Vijay Shankar en route to scoring an unbeaten half-century against Gujarat Lions in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 match.(AFP)

The Indian Premier League has not just been about players performing day in and day out, and Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Vijay Shankar showed on Saturday it is also about staying prepared while on the bench interminably waiting for a chance.

The 26-year-old Tamil Nadu batsman, who hit a match-winning 63 not out to help the defending champions defeat Gujarat Lions by eight wickets and seal their playoff spot in IPL-10, was playing in just his fourth game ever in the league.

Shankar was given a game in 2014 for Chennai Super Kings – he only bowled in that game – and after playing his first game for SRH this season on April 12, he had to wait for almost a month before being handed a second game on May 8. He remained 15 not out in that win over Mumbai Indians, and didn’t miss out at the Green Park after the fall of two early wickets provided the chance.

Read | Sunrisers Hyderabad tame Gujarat Lions, storm into IPL 2017 play-offs

Shankar, Warner stand

Shankar’s 44-ball knock contained nine fours and his unbeaten 133-run partnership with skipper David Warner (69no) helped overhaul Gujarat Lions’ 154.

“It’s a special innings for me; I was ready for such a situation as I didn’t miss a single moment of the game even while sitting on the bench in earlier matches this season,” he said after the match.

“It was great to bat with David Warner. He was batting so well at the other end and that made it easy for me as his style of play helped me continue my stroke play,” he said. “It was a great effort from our bowlers to pull things back after Gujarat Lions scored 100 plus runs without losing a wicket in 11 overs.”

The IPL-10 has been about domestic batsmen delivering for different teams.Nitish Rana (Mumbai Indians), Rahul Tripathi (Rising Pune Supergiant), Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer (all Delhi Daredevils) have all made a mark this season.

Terming IPL a big learning platform for cricketers like him, he said: “Today’s win would certainly boost the confidence of the side, which always wanted to win the game to make it to the play-offs instead of waiting for other results,” said Vijay.

Gujarat Lions head coach Brad Hodge refused to accept it was a bad season for the side, having made it to the play-offs in the team’s first season. “We got many positives from the season. On an individual basis, many of our players have improved their knowledge with the games.”

The former Aussie spinner, however, blamed injuries for the poor run, claiming that if there had been no injury issues mid way through the season, the side’s emergence could have been similar to last season.

Fast bowler Andrew Tye hurt his shoulder, Brendon McCullum injured his hamstring and Ravindra Jadeja did not play from the start after a hectic home Test season.

“Our loss to Mumbai Indians in the Super Over was the turning point,” added Hodge.