India captain Rohit Sharma was one pleased man after KL Rahul got a quickfire fifty off 32 balls in their tense five-run win over Bangladesh in Group 2 Super 12s match of Men’s T20 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
Though Rahul straightaway did not look in great touch in the first two overs, he then brought out his elegant stroke-play and supple wrists in play, hitting three fours and four sixes at a strike-rate of 156.25 to shrug off his lean run in the tournament.
“The way KL batted as well, it was important for him and the team. We know what sort of player he is at the top of the order. If he bats the way he can, he puts the team in a different position,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Rahul also shared a 67-run stand off 37 balls for the second wicket with Virat Kohli, who continued his sizzling touch in the tournament by hitting eight fours and a six at a strike-rate of 145.45 to be unbeaten on 64 off 44 balls, his third fifty in the tournament and also made him the leading run-scorer in T20 World Cups.
“In my mind, Kohli was always there. It was just a matter of few innings here and there, and he hasn’t looked back since the Asia Cup. The guy has so much experience. We never had any doubts and the way he has been batting in this World Cup has been tremendous and he is really doing it for us,” added Rohit.
Rohit also had some special praise for young left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh, who executed his yorkers well to defend 20 runs in the final over to end with figures of 2/38 in four overs.
“Arshdeep, when he came into the scene, we asked him to do the death overs job for us. With (Jasprit) Bumrah not there, it was a tough job for someone to take up. For a young guy to come and do that kind of a job is not easy, we’ve prepared him.”
“He’s been doing it for 8-9 months. I had to back someone who had been doing it regularly and who did the job for us previously, it was a choice between Shami and Arshdeep.”
Asked about his emotions when Bangladesh had a blazing start with 66/0 in seven overs and had a batting implosion post a rain interruption, Rohit remarked, “I was calm and nervous at the same time, but it was important to stay calm as a group to execute. Shortened games can go either way, but we held our nerves well after the game started, it was a good win in the end.”