Deepak Hooda played a crucial role in India’s victory in the first T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka. He batted at the difficult No.6 position and scored 41 runs off of 23 deliveries, including four sixes, to help India reach a defendable total of 162.
Hooda stated that he was prepared for the possibility of a batting collapse at any time, as it is often the role of a No.6 or No.7 batter to come in and stabilize the innings.
“I was pretty clear in my mind that if we lose early wickets we have to build a partnership and when you are batting lower down the order at No.6, for a situation like that, being a cricketer, you have to be ready for that. A collapse can happen at any time.
“(But) I don’t think it was a collapse in the true sense as we were in a good position. Yes, we lost one or two extra wickets but I think that is the role of a No.6 and No.7 batter (to come and bat with confidence) be it the first or the second match. It’s a good win,” added Hooda.
He emphasized the importance of respecting the situation and playing accordingly, especially as a No.6 batter who is often expected to be a good finisher.
“The kind of wicket you get, you have to play accordingly. You have to give a good total to the team and that was going through my mind being a batsman. Being a No.6 batter, if you are playing at that position, you have to finish the game. So, that was the only thing going on in my mind.”
Hooda added that he was able to play freely once the spinners had contained the top and middle-order batters and the wicket had settled down, as he was able to take advantage of a loose ball in the final over.
“Initially, the situation did not permit hitting the ball hard, but it was his (Hasaranga’s) last over and then he bowled a loose ball as well. In a T20 game, you have to keep that intent of hitting. If you get the ball in the right area, you have to smash it. That was, I suppose the perfect time to play my game and partner Axar Patel and thankfully it got executed well,” he added.