Mohammad Kaif has lauded Tilak Varma for playing strokes all around the park and highlighted that his helicopter shot had glimpses of MS Dhoni.

Varma smashed an unbeaten 84 off just 46 balls to help the Mumbai Indians (MI) set a 172-run target for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Sunday (April 2) evening’s IPL 2023 game in Bengaluru. However, his knock was futile as RCB registered a comprehensive eight-wicket win with 22 deliveries to spare.

During a post-match discussion on Star Sports, Kaif heaped praise on Tilak Varma for possessing an all-round game and was particularly appreciative of the helicopter shot he played, elaborating:

“Leg side is his strong suit. He uses his bottom hand but he makes room as well, hits sixes straight down the ground and plays the scoop shot. So it is not that he can only score on the leg side. The helicopter shot – if you watch it through a mirror, you will feel it is MS Dhoni because you will see him as a right-hander there.”

The former Indian batter pointed out that the youngster stood out during the Mumbai Indians‘ indifferent run last season and continued in the same vein in their first game of IPL 2023, stating:

“The most difficult time was last year. Mumbai were struggling and were losing matches continuously but his bat kept on firing. So he showed that he has courage. He played for the first time for the Mumbai Indians and scored regularly and he continued that form here.”

Varma amassed 397 runs at an impressive strike rate of 131.02 in the 14 games he played in IPL 2022. He had a top score of 61, which he bettered with his unbeaten 84-run knock on Sunday.

“Tilak Varma batted amazingly well” – Virender Sehwag

Tilak Varma struck nine fours and four sixes during his innings. [P/C:]
Tilak Varma struck nine fours and four sixes during his innings. [P/C:]

Virender Sehwag praised Varma for batting aggressively despite losing partners at the other end, explaining:

“Tilak Varma batted amazingly well. Wickets kept falling from one end but he continued playing his shots. His shot selection was spot on. At times, players get scared when wickets fall and stop playing their shots, but Tilak Varma didn’t do that.”

The former Indian opener highlighted that the southpaw repaid the Mumbai Indians management for the faith they showed in him, saying:

“If another batter had stayed with him until the end overs, he might have taken the score to 200 instead of 171. You expect such knocks from such young players but when they do that, the coaching staff gets the satisfaction that they backed him and he performed. Hats off to the Mumbai Indians’ support staff.”

Tilak Varma strung together a 50-run partnership with Nehal Wadhera (21 off 13) after the Mumbai Indians were reduced to 48/4 in the ninth over. He added 48 runs with Arshad Khan (15* off 9) in less than three overs when MI were in deep trouble at 123/7 to give his side a glimmer of hope, but his efforts went in vain.

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Edited by Sai Krishna

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