Suryakumar Yadav’s unbeaten 50 balls from 33 balls ensured India didn’t face too many misses despite KL Rahulon a track where South Africa wavered at 9/5 at the start of the game.
“The wicket was tricky. You learn a lot playing a game like that. You understand what the team has to do in tough conditions. It was nice to play a game like that. We knew the bowlers would get something thing seeing the grass on the pitch, but we didn’t expect help for the full 20 overs,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
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Rohit admitted the pitch was a bit wet and that helped South Africa stay in the competition despite a paltry 106/8.
“It was still wet. The two teams were in competition and the team that played better won the game. We started well, got five wickets in record time and that was the turning point. It was a perfect showcase of how to play bowling when there was is help for pacers.”
While Rahul scored half a century (51) on 56 balls, Rohit said the conditions had to be met.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I have to meet the conditions. I lost two wickets and this partnership between KL and Surya brought us home.”
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Surya’s offensive stick helped me take my time
KL Rahul, whose erratic stick was covered up by royal half-century Suryakumar Yadav, said his partner’s attacking intent allowed him to take his time.
It was because of Rahul’s struggles, India only scored 17 in six Powerplay overs but Surya’s imperious form didn’t allow South Africa to make a comeback.
“Definitely up there (like the toughest pitch),” Rahul said when asked if this was the toughest strip he’s hit in the T20Is.
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“We played in tough conditions like this, but I don’t have any points, so it was hard work.”
He was all praise for Surya’s approach.
“It was amazing for Surya to come out there and play those shots. We saw how the balls were flying, weaving, two-pace and everything that can be difficult for a batter who was the wicket today.
“And for Surya to take that approach after the first ball hit him, he just woke up and wanted to play his shots and be aggressive and face the bowling. It helped me take my time and play a sleeve.”
Rahul said he expected the track to do a bit, but not to the extent that it did.
“Not that much. We trained here yesterday and it was also a humbling experience, we all arrived mentally prepared as it wasn’t going to be an easy wicket and I was ready to do the dirty work, ready to be challenged and do the work for the team.”
Rahul also praised the youngsters Arshdeep Singhwhose three wickets in his first over prepared the match.
“He (Arshdeep) is growing with every game and with every outing he’s getting better, he’s someone with a big heart and I’ve seen that up close playing in the IPL. This season what What he did for his franchise was phenomenal and being the number one death bowler in a team (Punjab Kings) that has Rabada speak highly of him.
“We still want a seamstress for the left arm and it’s great to have someone like Arshdeep.”