With an eye on a spot in India’s Champions Trophy squad, Shikhar Dhawan is slowly working his way back into form. The left-handed opener had struggled to keep his place in the India team in recent times. (IPL full coverage | Live score of SRH vs RCB)
On Wednesday, the opening night of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, Dhawan scored a scintillating but responsible 40 to help his side Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) get off to a flying start and move towards a challenging total against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
The defending champions SRH lost their skipper David Warner early. Warner, who was their star last year, scoring 848 runs, fell to a soft dismissal. But Dhawan kept his cool and launched into the RCB attack when the opportunity presented.
He began carefully, but when Shane Watson brought himself on, inexplicably replacing Yuzvendra Chahal who had bowled a decent opening over, Dhawan took off.
Dhawan pulled him for a four and then danced down the track to hit a four straight down. He wasn’t finished yet as a wide delivery was dispatched through covers. He followed it up with another pull shot and wound up with a single, collecting 17 off that over.
From seven off 10 deliveries, he had moved to 24 off 16 and helped his team cross the 50-run mark. But just as he was nearing the half-century mark, he was caught at long-on, off Stuart Binny in the 11th over. He, however, had ensured stability with a 74-run partnership with Moises Henriques for the second wicket.
Dhawan last played for India in an ODI against England in January, scoring just 13.
He had been struggling not just in India colours but also at the domestic level. It was only at the recent Deodhar Trophy that brought him back into reckoning.
In that one-day tournament, he smashed a 128 against an India A bowling attack that included Harbhajan and Krunal Pandya. He then followed those up with a 50 and a 45 against Tamil Nadu in the other two games.
Before that, he had struggled in the List A games for Delhi, failing to get to a single half-century. His highest was just 26 against Kerala.