Nicholas Pooran has unlocked his potential in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as a finisher for Lucknow Super Giants, former West Indies player Ian Bishop said after the batsman hit an unbeaten 44 off 13 balls in a seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Pooran, released by Hyderabad last year, returned to haunt his former team on Saturday and was particularly severe on part-time spinner Abhishek Sharma, with three huge sixes in the 16th over to help Lucknow get closer to their target of 183.
Lucknow eventually crossed the line with four balls left to move back into the top four in the table.
“I have to admit from the start of the season, my preference would have been for Pooran to face more overs, but great credit to them that he’s won them a couple of games in that role. They stuck with him in that role,” Bishop told the Cricinfo website.
“For several years he’s been trying to find a way to bat through overs, take it deep and then finish games. He didn’t do that as often as he would have liked.
“He’s come in this finisher’s role primarily without having to build up to anything and go from ball one. It has seemed to free him up a couple of times this season. He had a lean patch coming into this game.
“But (coach) Andy Flower’s psychology of letting him fire from ball one seems to be working to the benefit of the team.”
Marcus Stoinis carted Sharma for two sixes and fell in the third ball of Sharma’s 16th over to bring Pooran to the crease.
The West Indian, who smashed a 45 off 19 balls against Punjab Kings earlier in the season, said he was happy to get going immediately.
“T20 cricket is a batsman’s game. And there’s a reason for part-timers. Either they’re on for wickets or you can target them. This game is all about taking risks. No risks, no rewards,” Pooran added.
“It was really important in this game and once it’s your match-up, you need to make it count.”