India beat Afghanistan by 66 runs in their Super 12 match of T20 World in Dubai on Wednesday to keep their slim chance of reaching the semi-finals alive.
Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul hit half-centuries to help India post 210 for 2 after being invited to bat and then restricted Afghanistan to 144 for 7 in their 20 overs.
Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who had impressive figures of 2 for 14 on his white-ball comeback, was the best thing to have happened in India’s win , captain Virat Kohli said on Wednesday.
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Ashwin, who was playing a white-ball game after four years, was one of the architects of India’s 66-run win against Afghanistan which kept their slim chance of reaching the semifinals alive. “The return of Ash was the biggest positive, it was something he has worked really hard for,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation when asked what was the biggest takeaway from the win. “He (Ashwin) showed this control and rhythm in the IPL as well. He’s a wicket-taker and a smart bowler as well.”
Rohit, also the vice-captain, made no bones about the fact that some of the “decision making” during the first two games of the ongoing T20 World Cup against Pakistan and New Zealand was a result of fatigue that has set in after being on the road for a long time.
Rohit earned the Player of the Match award for his 74 in India’s 66-run victory over Afghanistan on Wednesday.
“The approach was different. I wish it was in the first two games as well but it did not happen. But that can happen when you are on the road for a long time. Decision-making sometimes can be a problem and that’s exactly what happened in the first two games,” Rohit said at the post-match press conference.
He then elaborated how decision-making can be affected if the mind is not fresh as people are expected to make “correct decision” whenever they are on the field.
“The amount of cricket that is being played and amount of cricket we are playing, every time you step onto the field, you have to make the right decision,” Rohit said.
“You need to ensure that you are fresh in terms of mental aspect. Maybe, that’s the reason why we did not take some good decisions. When you play a lot of cricket, these kind of things keeps happening. You need to get away from the game and freshen up your mind.
“But when you play the World Cup, your full focus should be on the World Cup, you should know what you need to do and what you don’t,” he said, putting things in perspective.
Rohit also made his displeasure known very subtly when he said that two bad games can’t make a team poor one.
“It didn’t happen in two games but that doesn’t mean that we have become bad players overnight. If you have two bad games, it doesn’t mean that all players are bad, those who are running the team are bad, you reflect and you come back and thats what we did in this game,” he said.
“In these situations, you have to stay fearless and not think about what is happening elsewhere. We are a very good team but just that we were not great on that particular day against Pakistan and also against New Zealand. The game that we played sums it up that this is what we get when we play fearlessly,” he said, summing it up.
Rohit Sharma also welcomed the appointment of Rahul Dravid as the head coach of the team, saying that the players were looking forward to working with the batting great.
“We were playing the game (against Afghanistan), so I had no idea (about it). Congratulations to him (Rahul Dravid) for coming back in a different capacity in the Indian team, we look forward to working with him,” Rohit said.