With very limited options to play for the country, 29-year-old Australian Daniel Sams has plied his trade in various cricket leagues across the world, donning Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians jerseys among others.
With nothing else but pride to play for in IPL 2022 — five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians are already out of IPL 2022 — the Rohit Sharma-led side snatched victory from the brink of defeat, and Sams played a key role for them, bowling an excellent final over to defend an improbable nine runs against the rampaging Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat Titans.
The left-arm pacer bowled slower deliveries throughout and kept it out of the batters’ hitting arc, which he revealed was the plan all along. Come to think of it, the Australian has played only seven T20 Internationals and his first-class and List A resume too is nothing much to talk about.
But he has moulded his game in several T20 leagues across the world and has become a utility all-rounder, who can step up as per the demands of the game, having taken 94 wickets and scored 721 runs in 81 T20 games.
The New South Wales player revealed his strategy after Mumbai Indians’ win, saying all along he was focusing on bowling the slower balls to perfection.
“I was focused on my best ball — the slower one. I tried to mix up the lengths a little and keep it away from him (David Miller) while bowling nice and slow,” said Sams.
“Bowling wide is one of those things we discuss, it’s better to bowl wide than get it wrong and be hit for six. Sometimes, it may not go our way but I was focused on the execution (against GT).”
After a tough few games in the initial part of the season, Sams has been one of the standout players in recent games and he thought the tough matches helped him come back stronger.
“It’s one of those things — it was a good time for me to reflect on those games as well as the things I do well. I had the starts in some games but I was committed to the things I do well. It gave me some time to work on and execute those things since I have come back to the team. I have been calm in the last few games,” he added.
Sams also ended up with the best economy rate in a star-studded field, giving away just 18 runs in the three overs he bowled, while Jasprit Bumrah went for 48 in his four overs.
Sams bowled slow balls and got his wide deliveries perfect, keeping it inside the tramline and ensured that the GT batters could not get him away to take us to a thrilling victory.
“What a crazy game. Awesome to get over the line — I just kind of looked at it as I have nothing to lose here,” added Sams.
“Sams was under the pump in a couple of games but I know the quality he has. He was brilliant,” said skipper Rohit Sharma.
“We knew it would be tough but we held our nerves, which was good to see. We bowled our slower balls pretty well. A lot of credit to our bowlers — it is important to back those guys,” he added.