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Fearless Ishan Kishan Shows He Belongs At The Highest Level In Debut Innings

Ishan Kishan produced a match-winning 56 off just 32 deliveries on international debut to take India to a thumping seven-wicket series-levelling win in the second T20I in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Fearless Ishan Kishan Shows He Belongs At The Highest Level In Debut Innings

Virat Kohli did a few things right on Sunday in the second T20I against England in Ahmedabad. He won a good toss and decided to chase which is clearly proving to be an advantage in the series. He scored an unbeaten 73 in quick time and stormed back into form. But most significantly he stuck to his strategy of going all-out in attack right from the start and it paid rich dividends. Kohli surprised everyone at the toss by drafting in Ishan Kishan in place of Shikhar Dhawan in the XI. It was a bold decision but one in alignment with the new brand of aggressive play by the team and it paid off. Kishan, on international debut, hammered 56 off just 32 deliveries giving India the early impetus in the chase which then allowed the captain to finish off in style and level the series at 1-1.

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Kishan did not show any nerves in the first match for his country and batted with gay abandon. India lost the big wicket of KL Rahul in the very first over of the chase but that did not deter Kishan. He was picked to open to do a specific job – and that was to go all-out and attack the England bowling. And the left-hander from Patna did exactly that! He made his intentions clear with the very first delivery he faced in international cricket flicking Jofra Archer for a boundary.

A pull off Sam Curran to the boundary followed by welcoming the other brother Tom by thumping him over long-on for a six and Kishan was making it count in his very first outing on the big stage. He slapped Tom Curran through the covers before picking him for another boundary to end the sixth over. India had got the impetus they needed in the powerplay and it was the debutant who had taken charge. The home team had raced to 50 for 1 after the initial six overs with Kishan unbeaten on 27 off 15 deliveries.

He slammed Ben Stokes for a six over square leg in the very next over before clubbing Adil Rashid – one of England’s heroes with the ball in the series opener – for two consecutive maximums in the 10th over. Kishan was finally dismissed for a match-winning 56 off just 32 deliveries (which included 5 fours and 4 sixes) but by that time had done enough damage and laid the platform for an Indian win. The hosts had rocketed to 94 for 2 half-way into their allotted overs when Kishan exited. His intent, risk taking ability, courage and fearless hitting meant that the required run rate had come down to just 7.1 from the remaining 10 overs of the Indian innings.

Not only did Kishan play the defining knock of the match but the manner and rate at which he scored gave Virat Kohli the freedom to build his innings and play the role of the playmaker from the other end. When Kishan departed he had already given his captain the platform to take India to victory and that is exactly how the script unfolded.

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The sheer audacity of some of the stroke-play against the best team in the world that too on debut set Kishan’s innings apart. It was almost as if he belonged there at the big stage with the big boys.

Kishan had a breakthrough year in the IPL in 2020. He was the highest scorer for Mumbai Indians (MI) ahead of the likes of Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav and aggregated 516 runs in 13 innings at a strike rate of 145.76. His standout innings came against RCB when, chasing 202, he hammered 99 off just 58 deliveries in a thrilling encounter which ended in a tie. The most striking feature of Kishan’s performance, like against England on Sunday, was his ability to clear the ropes – he hit as many as 9 sixes on the day.

A fierce competitor, he excelled in multiple roles for MI in the tournament showcasing his versatility and adaptability and commitment to the team’s cause. He was pushed to open the innings against CSK in Sharjah when Rohit Sharma had to sit out due to a hamstring injury. Kishan again excelled in his new role remaining unbeaten on 68 off just 37 deliveries as MI chased down the target of 115 with all 10 wickets intact and more than 7 overs to spare. Again his 5 sixes in the innings stood out!

Kishan was ruthless against the Delhi Capitals in Dubai smashing an unbeaten 72 off 47 deliveries against the likes of Rabada, Nortje and Ashwin. Kishan played the most significant knock of his IPL career in the Qualifier 1 in Dubai. He top-scored for MI with a fine 55 off just 30 deliveries and was involved in a match-changing stand of 60 in less than 4 overs with Hardik Pandya propelling MI to 200 for 5 in their 20 overs. Kishan was MI’s batsman of the tournament and played a leading role in helping them lift their fifth title.

All of just 22 and Kishan has made a sensational start to his international career. A Player of the Match Performance on debut in a big match for the country – as far as starts are concerned it does not get better than this!​

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