Punjab Kings batter Ashutosh Sharma plays a shot during the IPL 2024 cricket match between Punjab Kings and Mumbai Indians on April 18, 2024.
Punjab Kings batter Ashutosh Sharma plays a shot during the IPL 2024 cricket match between Punjab Kings and Mumbai Indians on April 18, 2024. (Photo | PTI)

It was my dream to play sweep shot against Jasprit Bumrah, says Ashutosh Sharma

I am only following it – I am not a hard-hitter, I am playing proper cricketing shots and that is what has changed my game," Ashutosh said.

MULLANPUR: Punjab Kings' batting sensation Ashutosh Sharma said he lived a "dream" when he swept "world's best fast bowler" Jasprit Bumrah during his team's IPL clash against Mumbai Indians here.

The 25-year-old Ashutosh put the Bumrah-led Mumbai Indians' bowling to sword here on Thursday when he hammered seven sixes and two fours to make 61 off a mere 28 balls, a knock which brought PBKS back from the brink after an early collapse.

PBKS were 17/4 inside the powerplay but courtesy the stunning fightback from Ashutosh and Shashank Singh (41), they were able to get close to MI's 193-run target before losing by nine runs.

It was in the 13th over of Punjab's chase when Ashutosh got down low on his front to convert an attempted yorker from Bumrah into a full toss and smack it for a six over backward square leg.

"It was my dream to hit a sweep shot against Bumrah. I was practising for that shot but it came against the best bowler in the world – it is a part of the game," Ashutosh told the media here after the match.

Ashutosh said he was confident of taking Punjab over the line.

"I had belief in myself that I would be able to win the game for the team," he said. Ashutosh credited former India player and coach Sanjay Bangar, head of cricket development at PBKS, for his improvement this season.

"Sanjay sir told me that I am not a slogger and that I can play proper cricket shots. It was a small statement but carried a huge meaning for me.

I am only following it – I am not a hard-hitter, I am playing proper cricketing shots and that is what has changed my game," Ashutosh said.

"Back home, I was working with my coach Amay Khurasiya who had told me that the longer you stay on the pitch, the more your team has a chance of winning," he added.

Punjab Kings batter Ashutosh Sharma plays a shot during the IPL 2024 cricket match between Punjab Kings and Mumbai Indians on April 18, 2024.
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The right-handed batter, who made some gestures towards the PBKS dugout after completing his fifty, said the celebrations were meant for his team management.

"That celebration was for our Sanjay (Bangar) sir, I have been working a lot with him and I keep asking him questions," Ashutosh said.

"He gave me a chance, and also the entire Punjab team which showed belief in me. Our head coach Trevor Bayliss, Ashish (Tuli) paaji, Shikhar (Dhawan) paaji, everyone believed in me, so it was for all of them," he added.

Punjab slumped to their fifth defeat in seven matches as well as to the ninth spot in the points table, but Ashutosh said his side has been playing well.

"Winning and losing are part of the game. How you are playing is something that matters and we are playing well as a team. If we will play well, we will win," he said.

Mumbai Indians' pacer Gerald Coetzee conceded his side was tense after Ashutosh's stunning onslaught.

"He really brought it to us. We just wanted to be really clear tactically what we wanted to do. We executed really well to him in the back end to shut it down and win the game," the South African bowler said.

"But it was tense, as I think everyone saw. But it was just all tactical discussions," he added.

Coetzee conceded Mumbai Indians could've been better with their slower balls, something that PBKS used perfectly in the first half.

"We just really learned from their innings. We adapted our plans and I think it worked," Coetzee added.

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