KL Rahul who was recently in the eye of the storm due to his poor form in the recently concluded Test series against Australia, fired back with his bat in the 1st ODI against the Aussies on Friday.
The batter played a pivotal innings of 75* with Ravindra Jadeja (45) and helped India chase down 189 in the Wankhede after the hosts had lost 3 early wickets.
“Saw three wickets fall down early, Starc was swinging the ball well and when he brings the ball back in, he is a dangerous bowler. Just tried to play normal cricketing shots. Got a few boundaries away and that settled my nerves. I batted with Shubman, Hardik, and Jadeja. The talk was that there’s help on the wicket but we did not want to get into our shell and play out a certain bowler. We wanted to be positive and put the loose balls away. If we are good with out footwork, we could do well and it was fun batting with Jadeja,” the right hander said after the match.
He also spoke in length about how after Jadeja walked out in the middle, he got some loose balls due to the tried and tested right hand-left hand combination.
“The minute the left-hander walked in, I got a few loose ball. That happens to the best of bowlers. The left-hander walking in and that worked for us. Jaddu batted beautifully and he runs hard between the wickets. He is in great form and he knows what to do in those situations,” he said.
The former Test vice captain also talked about the Wankhede pitch and how Mohammed Shami’s second spell helped turn the match in India’s favour.
“When we started off, I didn’t think the pitch will help the bowlers that much. Once Shami came back for his second spell, he did wonders. Any team that wants to win needs to pick wickets in the middle overs. When there’s bounce, I like keeping wickets. It is a bit of a challenge when it is slow and low, it is challenging physically. The ball was moving around and I enjoy playing here at the Wankhede,” he said.
India ultimately won by five-wicket and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Chasing 189, India were 16/3 and subsequently 39/4 but Rahul held his nerves during a 91-ball knock that had seven fours and a six. He added 108 for the unbroken sixth wicket stand alongside Ravindra Jadeja (45 not out).
Earlier, India bowled out Australia for 188.
Stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya won the toss and elected to field first and his bowling unit, led by Shami (3/17), fired at the Wankhede Stadium to finish off Australia’s innings in just 35.4 overs. Mohammed Siraj also got three wickets.
Opening in place of the injured David Warner, Mitchell Marsh top-scored for Australia with a 65-ball 81, but the rest, including skipper Steve Smith, failed to make any worthwhile contribution.