India’s No.4 problem suddenly looked settled as Shreyas Iyer played three consecutive knocks to give India some memorable wins while chasing. After making 44 not out against Australia in Bengaluru that saw India clinching the decider and series, the Mumbai batsman played two timely knocks in the first two T20Is against New Zealand in Auckland to put India 2-0 ahead in a five-match series.
All three of Iyer’s knocks came at a strike-rate of above 100 and they dwarfed whatever targets the opponents set for India. The Delhi Capitals captain’s 58 not out off 29 in the first T20I against the Black Caps was particularly special as India chased down a big target of 204 comfortably.
‘Kohli perfect example of how to plan innings’
What’s the mantra of success in Iyer’s batting when he chases targets? For the 25-year-old, it is his captain Virat Kohli’s example. “I personally feel that you have a fair idea how many runs you are going to chase and at what run-rate you have to chase them. Virat Kohli is the perfect example when he goes out to bat and the way he plans his innings. I learn a lot from him personally, the way he grinds out and he tries to finish the game. That’s the best part about him,” the Mumbai batsman told the media after India made it 2-0 in the ongoing series.
Kohli, for instance, averages 82-plus while batting second in the T20Is while it is around 35 when he bats first. In the ODIs, too, he averages almost 69 while chasing targets while in the first innings, his average is just over 50.
Iyer has also learnt from his senior Mumbai team-mate Rohit Sharma, who can decimate any attack on his day. “(I) Also (learn from) Rohit Sharma, whenever he’s given an opportunity, he makes the best use of it. All these amazing characters in the team set a really good example for us youngsters.”
“There’s a lot to learn from them and that’s what I try to apply whenever I go out there. I think that I have to stay not out and it really helps me grind throughout that middle period and when the time comes, I take on the bowlers. That’s how you plan your innings when you are chasing,” Iyer added.
Iyer, who is still in the early days of his career, averages above 46 while batting second as compared to 16.62 in the first. He also has a far superior average while batting second in ODIs (60-plus) compared to in the first (around 39).
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