'We both gelled well together and enjoyed each other’s batting.'
The promising Priyam Garg "felt no pressure" when fellow-rookie Abhishek Sharma walked in to bat, with Sunrisers Hyderabad precariously placed in Friday’s IPL match against Chennai Super Kings, in Dubai. That’s because they are "familiar" with each other’s strengths.
On a day when top guns David Warner (28), Jonny Bairstow (0), Kane Williamson (9) and Manish Pandey (29) failed to fire, the Sunrisers's young middle-order rose to the occasion to take the team home.
Garg, who notched up his maiden IPL fifty, and Sharma (31) resurrected the Sunrisers’s innings after they were reeling at 69 for four at one point.
The duo put together a 77-run stand for the fifth wicket as Sunrisers collected 53 runs in the last four overs to post a competitive 164 for five.
"I had no pressure when Abhishek came in to bat, because we know each other and our strengths, Garg told Sharma in a video posted on the IPL's website.
"We both gelled well together and enjoyed each other’s batting. I felt really good about scoring my first IPL fifty," he added.
Garg was also involved in a horrible mix-up that cost the wicket of Williamson.
After losing the wicket of skipper Warner, Williamson flicked the next ball to mid-wicket and called for a quick single. However, Garg barely responded and the senior batsman was left stranded mid-pitch.
"It felt really bad when he got run-out. He was a set batsman. That he was run-out was a mistake, but everything went alright after that," he said.
But all was forgiven after Garg's stellar knock.
"When I went back to the dug out, he said to me 'don't worry mate, forget about it. You've batted really well."
Garg, who led the Indian under-19 team in this year's World Cup, comes from a humble background. His father drove school buses and sold milk to fuel his cricketing ambitions.
The 19-year-old, who was bought by Sunrisers for Rs 1.9 crore, entered the IPL on the back of some impressive knocks in the Ranji Trophy.
Meanwhile, Sharma, who was a part of the Indian team that won the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, said he did not want to "negate runs" and thus decided to go after Ravindra Jadeja.
"I thought I could take 3-4 balls to get in, but that turned into 7-8 balls. Priyam was batting very well, so I thought I shouldn't be the one negating the runs, so I decided to target Ravindra Jadeja."
Sharma was trained by World Cup-winning India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh at the PCA's new stadium in Mohali during the off season.
Yuvraj takes special interest in Sharma and Shubman Gill, regularly working with the duo.