NEW DELHI: India’s victory against Australia in their final T20 World Cup Super Eight match was not a simple task, according to captain Rohit Sharma, who had to adjust his batting approach to counter the challenging conditions.
Despite the early departure of his opening partner Virat Kohli for a duck, Rohit played a match-winning knock of 92 runs off just 41 deliveries, showcasing his skill with seven boundaries and eight sixes.
Rohit’s impressive performance helped India post a formidable total of 205/5, which proved to be a challenging target for Australia. The Indian bowlers then restricted Mitchell Marsh‘s team to 181/7, securing a 24-run victory and advancing to semifinal.
The persistent wind at the venue posed a significant challenge for the batsmen, prompting Rohit to adapt his batting style. He revealed that he had to play more strokes on the off side to minimize the wind’s impact on his shots, ultimately leading to his match-winning contribution.
“I thought right from over number one, there was a strong breeze blowing across. They (Australia) changed their plan, bowling against the breeze, so I realised I had to open up the off side as well.
“You’ve got to factor in the breeze and understand that the bowlers are smart as well and open up all sides of the field. When you keep an open mind and not just think of one shot, you can access all areas of the field,” said the India skipper, as quoted by PTI, after the match.
“200 is obviously a good score, but when you’re playing on grounds like this where wind is a factor, anything is possible, but I thought we used the conditions very well. It was very pleasing to see how we were getting through those overs and getting the wickets at the same time.”
Rohit expressed his confidence in Kuldeep Yadav‘s ability to perform exceptionally well in the West Indies, following the wrist-spinner’s experience with seamer-friendly conditions in the United States.
Kuldeep returned excellent figures of 2/24 in his four overs.
“Kuldeep, we understand the strengths he has, but you have to use it when you need it. The pitches in New York were seamer-friendly, but we knew he would play a big role later.”
Rohit remained focused on the game’s rhythm, asserting that his primary goal was to sustain the “tempo” of the match. He made it clear that personal milestones, such as reaching a century, were not his concern at that moment.
“It was a good wicket, and you want to try and back yourself to play those kinds of shots. I’ve been trying to do that for a few years now, and I’m glad it came off today. The fifties and hundreds don’t matter, I wanted to bat with the same tempo and carry on.
“You want to make big scores, yes, but at the same time you want to make the bowlers think where the next shot is coming, and I think I managed to do that today,” he added.
Rohit expressed his desire for the Indian team to maintain their current style of play as they progress into the knockout stages of the tournament.
“We don’t want to do anything different (in the knockouts). We want to play the same way, understand what the individuals need to do in a given situation, and play freely.
“So far we’ve been doing that consistently, and semifinals, we have to try and do the same thing. It’ll be nice (to play England in the semifinal). Nothing changes for us, we want to focus on what we can do as a team, and take the game on.”