Watch: Ashwin smashes Shami for 4 and 6; triggers reaction out of icy-cool Hardik Pandya for the seamer
Ravichandran Ashwin's influential cameo in the critical stage of Rajasthan Royals' (RR) important win over defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) in IPL 2023 triggered an angry reaction out of opposition skipper Hardik Pandya on Sunday (April 16).
Pandya got miffed at experienced seamer Mohammad Shami for giving away perhaps the most crucial four and a six when he was supposed to tighten up the screws on Ashwin and strengthen GT's claims for victory with 22 required off the last two overs.
Having just gotten the specialist Dhruv Jurel out on the second ball of the penultimate over, Shami ran in to bowl at his Indian teammate with 17 needed off 10 balls. There was cushion available and the pacer could've taken the game away from the Royals with a couple of non-boundary balls.
But Ashwin, whose IPL batting stocks continue to rise, denied him that opportunity with a boundary that kept RR ticking. He backed it with a superlative maximum to basically end the contest there itself. Even though he got out off his third ball, he left the blistering Shimron Hetmyer with just seven more runs to achieve for the win.
Hardik's reaction for Shami after Ashwin assault
The first of the two boundary balls that Ashwin faced saw him cut away a back off a length delivery behind square for a boundary. That was the momentum breaker against Shami, who had just dismissed Jurel.
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Having shifted the pressure back on the bowler, Ashwin stayed deep inside his crease with a high backlift. The idea was to stay prepared for both the yorker and the short ball. Shami opted for the latter, which meant perfect length for a maximum towards the deep mid-wicket region.
Those two shots ended Titans' hopes after they had ran toe-to-toe with Royals in defence of the 178-run target and brought the equation to 23 off 12.
Seeing the match slip away after an earnest effort through Ashwin's assault instigated a helpless reaction out of Pandya, who didn't lose his cool but let Shami know that he expected better execution out of his premier Indian quick.