Rajkot: Rohit Sharma knew that the conditions were perfect for batting in his 100th T20 International and all he had to do was to “stay still and tonk the ball”.
Cyclone ‘Maha’ threat was looming large on Rajkot but it was Indian cricket’s ‘Hit-Man’, who struck like a tornado during his 85 off 43 balls as India levelled the three-match T20 series against Bangladesh with an eight-wicket victory in the second game.
“All these years, I’ve just tried to do my best with the bat in hand. I knew the conditions were perfect. So all I wanted to do was stay still and tonk the ball. The year 2019 has been very good so far. Just want to finish it off on a good note,” said the stand-in captain, who was also adjudged ‘Man of the Match’.
“I knew that Rajkot is a good track and it will be difficult for the bowlers in the second innings. We took advantage of that and had a great powerplay. After that, it was all about going on.” However, the skipper was all praise for his spinners Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal, who put brakes on Bangladesh restricting them to 153 for 6 on a placid Rajkot track.
“Both Washington and Chahal understand their bowling really well. More importantly, they analyse and have conversations about where they can improve. Chahal has bowled in difficult situations and has somehow brought the team to the top,” said Rohit.”‘It’s given him confidence. Washington has been our new-ball bowler, but, I wanted to keep his three overs at the back. I’m an emotional guy. We were sloppy in the field, have to accept that. But focus is always on getting the job done,” he said.
Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah admitted that his team was 25-30 runs short of an ideal total. “It was a very good wicket, but we were 25-30 runs short. Having said that, credit goes to Rohit and Shikhar, how they started. The momentum went their way. We need to assess the conditions when we go to Nagpur. We needed to be a bit more positive.”
India’s bowling hero Chahal felt that there was something in it for the spinners during the first half. “When I bowled my first ball, I realised that it’s spinning. You have to vary your pace here,” said Chahal. During his time away from the Indian team, Chahal was practising with the wet ball to counter the dew factor. “When I was not part of the India team, I was practising with the wet ball, so dew didn’t affect me. My bowling depends on what I think the batsman is trying to do. Depending on that I bowl the top spinner, googly or slider,” the wiry leg-break bowler said.
Chahal said that Rishabh Pant’s faulty collection ahead of the stumps in his bid to dismiss Liton Das was part and parcel of the game. While Liton was out by a mile, the umpire adjudged it as ‘no ball’. ‘We are team players, even I drop catches sometimes. No one wants to miss a catch or stumping, so no hard feelings with Pant. Just hard luck. Bowling in the death or powerplay gives you more confidence.’