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Rediff.com  » Cricket » How India took the wind out of Australia's sails...

How India took the wind out of Australia's sails...

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 25, 2024 01:18 IST
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'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.'

Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: Captain Rohit Sharma played a match-winning 92 off just 41 balls, slamming 7 fours and 8 sixes, as India easily beat Australia in the T20 World Cup Super Eight match in St. Lucia on Monday. Photograph: BCCI/X

Winning their last T20 World Cup Super Eight match against Australia was not a 'breeze', said India skipper Rohit Sharma. He had to tweak his batting to take the wind out of the 2021 champions' sails

'Player of the Match' Rohit played some delectable strokes on the off side during a match-winning 92 off just 41 deliveries after his opening partner Virat Kohli departed for a duck.

 

Courtesy Rohit's seven boundaries and eight sixes, India scored 205 for 5 and then restricted Mitchell Marsh's side to 181 for 7 for a 24-run victory in St Lucia and moved into the semi-finals of the showpiece event.

With the wind a perpetual hindrance, Rohit said he had to play more strokes on the off side to negate the impact.

"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," he said 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 also said he knew wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav would be at his potent best in the West Indies after encountering seamer-friendly conditions in the United States.

Kuldeep returned excellent figures of 2 for 24 from 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."

Axar Patel celebrates with Rohit Sharma after taking the wicket of Marcus Stoinis.

IMAGE: Axar Patel celebrates with Rohit Sharma after taking the wicket of Marcus Stoinis. Photograph: BCCI/X

Rohit categorically said he was concentrating only on maintaining the "tempo" of the match and not bothering one bit about his century.

"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.

He would like India to continue playing the same way in the knock-outs.

"We don't want to do anything different (in the knock-outs). 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 semi-finals we have to try and do the same thing. It'll be nice (to play England in the semi-final). Nothing changes for us; we want to focus on what we can do as a team, and take the game on."

Australia skipper Mitchell Marsh, who was guilty of grassing a sitter and could not build on his good start with the bat, conceded India were better on the day.

"It's disappointing. Still technically a chance to go through, and today India got the better of us. I think over the course of 40 overs there's a lot of small margins, but honestly, India were the better team.

"We've seen for 15 years what Rohit Sharma can do in that kind of mood, and he got off to an absolute flier. In a run chase like that, you're in it if you can keep it at tens (10 runs per over) for as long as possible, but India were too good for us."

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