He may not be the captain, but Shikhar Dhawan’s influence as a performer and ‘leader’ within the Delhi Capitals squad cannot be overlooked, said Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who has also played its part in the team’s journey to the IPL final.
Dhawan, with 603 points, and Stoinis, with 352 points and 12 wickets, were the Capitals’ top two players. They played a big part in the team’s 17-point victory in qualifying-2 against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
“Shikhar was amazing and made hundreds. Even in the games he missed, he timed the ball well. He’s really shown the way for us this year, ”Stoinis said at the post-match press conference.
Stoinis himself benefited from Dhawan’s immense knowledge to adapt to various situations.
“He (Dhawan) is a leader within the team. He brings a lot of energy and shares a lot of knowledge. He has been really good to me throughout this campaign. I am really proud of him.
“He did over 600 races this year. Hopefully he has a big shot left in the final, ”said Stoinis, who scored 38 in attack as he opened the heats for the first time on Sunday.
Stoinis has opened in the Big Bash League before, but in the IPL it was his first attempt after Prithvi Shaw’s repeated failure to hit double digits.
“Ricky (Ponting) had talked to me a number of times about the possibilities of opening the baton. It just worked and we figured this was the game to do it. In one of the games, I hit No.3 and that didn’t happen because we were chasing 220, ”he recalls.
He also had a day in the field with the ball, knocking out Manish Pandey and dangerous Kane Williamson at the right time in his 3-for-26 four-overs spell.
“Bowling in this format is always tough and it’s more about planning and having a good idea before you get to the ground.”
For Stoinis, the basic idea of T20 bowling, more than taking wickets, is containment.
“Just be aware that in T20 you don’t always try to take wickets, but controlling the speed of execution and controlling the game creates some pressure.
When asked about the grand final against the Mumbai Indians, Stoinis stressed that there would not be too much tinkering with the game plan as such.
“The preparations will be the same as usual. When big games come up it’s more important to stick to your usual strategies and routines, MI are a great team and they’ve been consistent all season, beat us three times.
“We’re just going to put out our best game of cricket and play our best. I think it will be good enough, ”Stoinis said.