The game between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians should never have come down to Billy Stanlake's batting ability but it did. Batting in the final over alongside Deepak Hooda, Billy had to ensure that he gets Hooda on strike when possible and also hit the winning runs if required.
And boy, did he do that. Deepak Hooda hit the first ball of the Ben Cutting over where they needed 11 for a six over cover on the off side. But that's when it all became very close, Hooda somehow mistimed the 3rd ball of the over and had to just settle for the single. Putting all the focus on Billy Stanlake.
With a sum total of 11 runs from his 34 games career & a high score of four not out, Stanlake, by his own admission, is just the no.11 that SRH wouldn't have wanted to be up against the challenge. He had never hit a boundary in any form of professional cricket.
When he got asked a few years back what he makes of his batting. Stanlake funnily had replied, "Just try and stay in at the end – I'm a genuine No.11."
He somehow despite all this got Deepak back on strike just tapping the ball close and used his long feet to quickly get through. But as faith would have it, Deepak again was only able to get the single when his team needed 2 off 2 balls.
Now with 1 run needed off the last ball, Stanlake had to hit the shot. Rohit Sharma the Mumbai Indians captain understanding the situation and Billy's batting ability got all the fielders inside the circle to ensure a superover.
All eyes were on the left-hander Stanlake, and he did the unthinkable. He not only read Ben Cutting's slower ball angled towards his stumps but adjusted and heaved the ball high over the leg-side for the match-winning boundary. It was amazing.
Billy surprised everyone by somehow getting the best batting performance of his career out when it all mattered in the biggest of stages. Sunrisers got their highly unlikely hero for the night. Well done Billy Stanlake.
(Inputs from Cricket Australia website)