Johannesburg: Young Indian batsman Unmukt Chand drew lavish praise from his Delhi Daredevils skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who said the teenager showed a lot of maturity in his 40-run knock that proved crucial in the team's win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Champions League T20 here.
"Definitely it was good knock. I saw him batting in the Under-19 World Cup final as well. It was a fantastic knock.
When we came here and he was in squad I always wanted to try and back him and give him the opportunity," Jayawardene said after the 52-run triumph in the CLT20 lung-opener.
"But I wasn't sure where he is going to fit in that batting line-up exactly. I think he is a very mature young cricketer who understands the game much better. They were tough conditions but I think he handled them very well; so great credit to him. And hopefully he can improve further," he added.
Part of a line-up comprising some of the best batsmen in the world such as Virender Sehwag, Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor, the youngster played a crucial knock to help set up the match against Kolkata.
"It is only the first match, so you can't say much. The preparations have been good. I always like to play T20, so it is good," said the 19-year-old.
"My game is a bit aggressive, so I try to keep it normal. When I try to do something extra, that is the time I lose my shape and get out or something like that happens. So, I try not to do something extra and play my natural game and that's what helps."
Chand said he has been getting tips from the likes of Sehwag and Pietersen to improve his game. "Viru Bhaiyya and KP are my favourites. I like to watch Viru Bhaiyya bat; and KP, Ross, they all are good," he said.
Chand partnered Pietersen and Taylor to take the score to 145 for five, before being dismissed for a 27-ball 40.
"It is really fun to play with all of them. KP and Ross especially are really supportive. They kept on telling me to stay there and hang in there and not lose my patience and just be there for some more time.
"If you can stay there for some more time then probably you can score runs later in the innings and that's what really paid off in the end."
Chand said he draws a lot of confidence by scoring runs outside India. "Scoring runs where ever you can give confidence and runs. It's good that they are coming outside India as well. These pitches are probably helping me because I like to play on the up and that is something really helping me and I would really like to score more runs in the future."
Talking about batting under high-pressure situations Chand said, "It's been good that I have been able to perform in situations when the team requires it.
"I am happy about it and I would like to continue to do that in the future as well. The pressure is only when you are outside; once you go in to bat you know what to do. Whenever I have had a proper plan about what I need to do, I have done well."