‘Good hit’ has KL Rahul fired up
KL Rahul is back to opening for India in the shortest format of the game and impressed immediately with a 40-ball 62 in the opening T20I in Hyderabad on Friday.
Being in good nick in T20 cricket, Rahul, replacing the injured Shikhar Dhawan, wants to continue with this impressive showing instead of thinking about sealing a berth in the squad for next year’s T20 World Cup Down Under.
“It’s (T20 World Cup) a long way from now. I have got the opportunity to bat at the top of the order again after a couple of series, so I’m just looking forward to making the best use of it. So the T20 World Cup is just not on my mind now,” Rahul said at the post-match media conference in Hyderabad.
India lead the series 1-0 with the second T20I to be held at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. The venue will be hosting its second T20I and just the third international match with this game.
The Windies last year had played an ODI — only one so far — at the venue and were subjected to a nine-wicket hammering by India.
On Friday, it was captain Virat Kohli’s unbeaten innings that took India home. But Rahul’s knock too carries equal significance in the hosts registering their highest-ever successful run chase in T20Is.
“It was a good outing… A good hit in the middle for me and hopefully, I can continue without worrying about October next year (when the T20 World Cup begins). There are a lot of games before that,” the Karnataka batsman said.
Talking about his 100-run second-wicket partnership with Kohli, who hit a career-best 94 not out, Rahul said: “When you are chasing 200 plus, obviously you want to come out hard. So sometimes you don’t hold your shape.
“During two-three overs in the middle, we obviously found it harder to get the boundaries but we knew that once we get a few of them, there would be more.
“So we just had to stay patient. We just kept the intent going. Our plans were very clear that we had to hit boundaries while chasing 200-plus runs.”
Friday’s game also witnessed for the first time the third umpire calling front-foot no-balls. Anil Chaudhary, the third umpire for the game, did intervene on three occasions with all of them going in India’s favour.
“It was our first game too (with such a rule), so it was interesting. I didn’t know what to expect, honestly,” Rahul said. “We got two-three decisions to go in our favour… I think it’s good to keep the game fair. As a bowler you make the mistake of overstepping and somebody sitting up there to watch it makes the game fairer.”
Match starts: 7pm