The promising Priyam Garg said he "felt no pressure" when fellow rookie Abhishek Sharma walked in to bat with their team Sunrisers Hyderabad precariously placed in an IPL match here as they are "familiar" with each others' strengths. On a day when the top guns David Warner (28), Jonny Bairstow (0), Kane Williamson (9), Manish Pandey (29) failed to fire, the Sunrisers' young middle-order rose to the occasion against Chennai Super Kings.
Garg, who notched up his maiden IPL fifty, and Sharma (31) resurrected Sunrisers' innings after they were reeling at 69 for four at one point. The duo stitched a 77-run stand for the fifth wicket as Sunrisers collected 53 runs in the last four overs to reach a competitive 164 for five on Friday. "I had no pressure when Abhishek came in to bat, because we know each other and our strengths, Garg told Sharma in a video posted on the IPL website.
"We both gelled well together and enjoyed each others' batting. I felt really good about scoring my first IPL fifty," he added.
Garg was also involved in a horrible mix up that cost the wicket of Williamson. After losing the wicket of skipper Warner, Williamson flicked the very next ball to mid-wicket and called for a quick single. However, Garg barely responded and the senior batsman was left stranded mid-pitch. "It felt really bad when he got run-out. He was a set batsman. That he was run-out was a mistake, but everything went alright after that," he said.
But all was forgiven after Garg's stellar knock. "When I went back to the dug out, he said to me 'don't worry mate, forget about it. You've batted really well," Garg said.
Garg, who led the Indian under-19 team in this year's World Cup, comes from a humble background. His father drove school buses and sold milk to fuel his cricketing ambitions. The 19-year-old, who was bought by Sunrisers for Rs 1.9 crore, entered the IPL on the back of some impressive knocks in the Ranji Trophy.
Meanwhile Sharma, who was a part of the Indian team that won the 2018 U-19 World Cup, said he didn't want to "negate runs" and thus decided to go after Ravindra Jadeja. "I thought I could take 3-4 balls to get in, but that turned into 7-8 balls. Priyam was batting very well, so I thought I shouldn't be the one negating the runs, so I decided to target Ravindra Jadeja," Sharma said.
Sharma was trained by World Cup-winning India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh at PCA's new stadium in Mohali during the off season. Yuvraj takes special interest in Sharma along with Shubman Gill and regularly works with the duo.