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 tornado during his 85 off 43 balls as India levelled the three-match T20 series against Bangladesh with a 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 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 on 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 today, 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 captain Mahmudullah blamed middle-order collapse as one of the reasons behind his team’s defeat in the second T20 here, saying the visitors failed to measure the momentum of the game while batting.
“I don’t think we need to change much but there are few areas in the game, especially when we are batting, which we need to rectify. We have missed the momentum, we could have got 170. We were 102-103 after 12 overs, so we should have got 170-180,” he said.
“Losing a few wickets in the middle overs cost us and these are the areas we need to look on. The openers gave us a very good start and that was a 180-plus wicket. The wicket was very good to bat on.
“It was the momentum of the game that we needed to understand. We should have understood the threats we faced at that particular time, but we didn’t recognise those things and fell short of those runs,” the Bangladesh skipper admitted.
Mahmudullah squarely put the blame on his batsmen for not putting up a winning total on a fine Rajkot wicket that offered good carry and bounce.
“I think if you have more than 40 dot balls in a T20, you have less chance of winning the match. We played 38 dot balls there. Maybe that’s okay, but there will definitely be opportunities to improve,” he said.
“But our batsmen had to take more responsibility. The goal was to get a good score but we couldn’t do that. It is the failure of our batsmen.”
During the chase, Rohit toyed with the opposition attack, hammering six sixes and as many fours during his knock, and the Bangladesh skipper said it is hard to stop his Indian counterpart when he is on song.
“If Rohit (Sharma) is having a good time, I think it is really hard to stop him. When he is batting brilliantly and if he is in a good mood, you never know what he is up to. But if we could have got 175-plus, we could have given ourselves a bit of a chance to defend,” said Mahmudullah.
“The wicket was good to bat on and the new ball was coming nicely on to the bat. If you get a good start early on, especially batsmen like Rohit and Shikhar (Dhawan), it is hard to stop them on that wicket.”
Asked whether attacking Chahal was a mistake, Mahmadullah did not give a direct reply.
“If you see that the way Mushi (Mushfiqur Rahim) got out, that is one of his strong shots to score, so I don’t blame him. I don’t blame anyone,” he said.