Port of Spain (Trinidad), Jul 25, 2022, IANS
At 79/-3 in 17.2 overs, India were in trouble during the chase of 312 against West Indies at Queen's Park Oval. But Shreyas Iyer (63) and Sanju Samson (54) got India back on track of the chase with a crucial 99-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Though with the duo's fall, India looked in danger of missing the target, an unbeaten 64 from Axar Patel took the visitors over the line to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
With talismanic batter Virat Kohli rested for the series, Iyer made the most of his opportunities of batting at number three in the series, scoring back-to-back fifties and insisting that batting in top-order is fun.
"I was really happy to get what score I got, but really unhappy with the way I was dismissed. I thought I could have taken the team through easily. I was setting up the total, but was very unfortunate with the wicket. Hopefully, I get to score a century in the next game."
"It's (number three) one of the best positions in ODIs as you go in at a tough situation if the openers have fallen. Then you have to see off the new ball and build an innings. If the openers have a really good partnership, you get to carry forward that momentum and see to it that run rate is maintained. It's a fun position to bat at and I really enjoy it," said Iyer in the post-match press conference.
Asked about his partnership with Samson, Iyer remarked, "We lost two back-to-back wickets. We were 60 for 3 (79/3), and from there, we had to rebuild. Sanju came in and he obviously showed a lot of intent. I was already batting. I had faced around 20 balls and was batting on 15.
"I knew what I was going to do, and Sanju at the same time, he faced a few balls, and then he went after the spinners. He hit them for two sixes, and suddenly, the momentum shifted towards us. From there onwards, we built on the partnership and carried forward the momentum towards us."
Iyer was pleased that his hard work in net sessions with head coach Rahul Dravid and batting coach Vikram Rathour was being rewarded in the form of back-to-back fifties in the ongoing series. "I have been working with them (Dravid and Rathour) for many years. We talk about technique and temperament on a match-to-match basis. Situations change and when we have team discussions, everyone talks.
"We don't come to a conclusion but learn from each other's views. It's a good conversation between us. Vikram Rathour sir and Rahul sir have been supportive throughout, he doesn't put much pressure on the mind in nets. They ask us to follow out routines very well and follow the processes."
Iyer signed off by saying that the atmosphere in the dressing room was tense during the last ten overs. "It was fun, to be honest. We were all sitting together, and Rahul sir was getting pretty tensed; he was passing on the message. I think a lot of players showed really good emotions out there and were very calm and composed in the pressure situation.
"Since we have played so many matches lately, I think we have already seen all these emotions. It was just another game for us. I think we did pretty well, especially Axar, the way he finished off, an outstanding knock."