B Sai Sudharsan narrowly misses a wide yorker from Matheesha Pathirana. He stretches out, extends his hands, and smashes Pathirana over the extra-cover boundary. Ravi Shastri, commentating, describes it as the “best shot of the match so far”. Sudharsan then surpasses that shot by launching a 147kph fuller delivery over the longer long-on boundary. MS Dhoni maintains his composed expression while tracking the ball’s trajectory. Impressed, Sudharsan’s captain Hardik Pandya approaches him, placing his left arm on Sudharsan’s shoulder and embracing him. Sudharsan’s parents, Bharadwaj and Usha, former athletes, travel from Chennai to Ahmedabad to witness these special moments. Sudharsan’s elder brother Sairam, studying in Australia, had planned to attend the final but couldn’t obtain tickets in the end.
“In the last over, the shot over extra-cover off Pathirana was my favourite. On such a big stage, on such an occasion, I didn’t expect to perform like this. But I was very happy. The trust that GT management gave [me]; in between I didn’t play a few games, but the management always had trust in me. I was ready to play any game. So, I was definitely very happy; I came back to my room, and I was seeing [highlights] of my shots. It took a long time for me to process it.”
My role was same as Kane’s role: Sai Sudharsan
About his role in the team, Sudharsan said:
“My role was to take the game deep – same as Kane’s role,” Sudharsan says. “Even a few weeks back, after he had left for New Zealand, I was having a conversation with him over the phone. He’s sweet. How sweet? He himself messaged me saying I could call him anytime and have a conversation over cricket anytime. Even last night, Kane texted me: “Very happy. You’ve done a great job!” I feel very happy that I tried my best to fill in Kane’s role. Our roles were fixed during the preparatory camp before the start of the IPL. With that role, I tried to enhance my game and it worked out I feel.”
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