Given the kind of IPL season Rovman Powell
was having, Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant went to his room after their previous game and asked him where he wanted to bat. Powell, who had scored just 135 runs in eight innings at 19.28, told his captain: "Just trust me and let me bat at No. 5."
Powell had started this IPL at No. 6, then batted twice at No. 5 in the middle, before being pushed down to No. 6 again, and was even held back to No. 8 against Rajasthan Royals
, in a game in which they were chasing 223 and fell short. Bowling allrounders like Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur were sent in ahead of him, which hurt Powell.
Sitting in his hotel room, Powell tried to convince his captain that he had the game to hit the spinners too and wanted to be back at No. 5.
"Over the last year or so my ability to [bat against] spin has increased, I'm batting [against] spin a lot better and I can bat [against] pace already," Powell told host broadcaster Star Sports after his unbeaten 67 off 35 against Sunrisers Hyderabad
in Capitals' 21-run win. "I just told him [Pant] to trust me at No. 5, give me a chance to start, to bat the first 15-20 balls, that's how I want to bat, and then [after] 20 balls I'll try to maximise.
"I came to the IPL knowing that I'm in good form, knowing that I've done a lot of work," Powell said later at the post-match press conference. "At the start of the IPL, it was a little bit tough for me. I just keep believing in myself. I had a conversation with Rishabh, explaining to him that I was a little bit disappointed to bat at No. 8 in that game. But it is the nature of the game, whatever the situation you have been placed in, you have to do your best. Rishabh and the coach [Ricky Ponting], they came up with a conclusion and plan and let me bat a little bit earlier now."
"I just told him [Pant] to trust me at No. 5, give me a chance to start, to bat the first 15-20 balls, that's how I want to bat, and then [after] 20 balls I'll try to maximise"
"I don't mind having one or two conversations here and there," Pant told Star Sports of his chat with Powell. "In the start, he was not getting enough runs but we knew what he can give us, so we backed him and now he's coming out with flying colours."
On Thursday, when Capitals lost their third wicket on 85 in the ninth over, Powell walked out to give a well-set David Warner company. The platform had been laid and the stage was set for Powell. Following his ideal blueprint, he ambled along to 21 off 19 balls, even getting a life in between when Kane Williamson dropped him at mid-off on 18, and then took off. Powell had only hit one boundary until then - a six - but in the next 16 balls, he smashed three fours and five sixes.
He pulled a Bhuvneshwar Kumar bouncer behind square, took back-to-back sixes off Sean Abbott down the ground, smoked a Kartik Tyagi length ball over long-on and then tore into Umran Malik in a final over that went for 19 runs, courtesy a six and three consecutive fours.
"I was trying my best [to hit sixes] but I kind of got winded in the end, so that's how it goes," Powell said of how he had to resort to fours instead of sixes in the last over.
, one of Capitals' assistant coaches, told Star Sports at the end of the game that he believed it was all coming together perfectly for Powell.
"I haven't really seen him bat a lot in the last couple of years, but once I saw him in the nets for the first couple of training sessions I had with him, he hit the ball a long way," Watson said. "And without having to really overhit the ball, the ball still travels. That's the beauty of seeing him come together over the last three games in particular.
"It took him just one innings, against KKR
, to really find his groove and get his rhythm, his mindset and technique from ball one. From then on, he has been absolutely outstanding. He's a world-class batsman in all types of conditions against quality fast bowling and some very fast bowling
we saw tonight from Umran Malik."