Too Little too Late as Kohli and Boys Fly Home With Bonus - The New Indian Express

Too Little too Late as Kohli and Boys Fly Home With Bonus

Published: 06th March 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 06th March 2014 02:25 PM

Ajinkya Rahane was back in his familiar role of opener and he didn’t let down his captain Virat Kohli or coach Duncan Fletcher as he hit a 66-ball 56 to star in India’s eight-wicket win over Afghanistan in Wednesday’s inconsequential Asia Cup match.

“Opening the innings was not my decision. It was the management’s call. But I’m happy that I scored runs. It’s always a good feeling when you score runs,” said the Mumbaikar, who was of late batting in the middle order.

Rahane said the team was  disappointed that it didn’t qualify for the final. But overall, they were happy with the performance. “We lost two close matches bowling second, so the credit should go to the bowlers because it’s not easy to bowl with dew on the ground. But the way the spinners and pacers bowled was good.”

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On which position he is comfortable in, Rahane said No 4 was more challenging. “It’s a new role and I’m learning.  As an opener, you get 10 overs of the new ball. I back my instinct and play my shots. At No 4, it depends on the situation, is it 30 for two or 150 for two. It’s crucial that you rotate the strike and play your shots. No 4 is a more challenging position.”

The batsman said the team missed Mahendra Singh Dhoni, even though Kohli did a good job. “Playing under Virat is a good experience. He is doing a good job and learning a lot from Dhoni bhai. He handled the team very well but we missed Dhoni bhai because he is such an experienced captain.”

For now, the team’s focus will shift to the T20 World Cup. “We really learnt a lot from this Asia Cup, New Zealand and South Africa tours. As a young team, we are approaching the game very well. This attitude is very good. That’s what matters in cricket. Our boys are putting in the effort.”

Earlier, debutants Afghanistan bowed out of the Asia Cup with some sweet memories, although the result didn’t favour them in the end. In a lop-sided contest, Samiullah Shenwari struck an eye-catching 50 (6x4, 1x6) before India cruised to the target of 160 in 32.2 overs with eight wickets to spare. They also earned a bonus point in the process.

It was Shenwari’s fifth ODI half-century and his first against the world champions, but the win was of little significance for India, who had failed to make the final. It was a reality check for the Afghanistani batsmen as far as skill and temperament were concerned. They looked lost against spin and left-armer Ravindra Jadeja had flattering figures of 4-29.

The Afghans raced away to 29 in four overs. But once spin was introduced in the form of Jadeja, their leaden-footed batsmen were left stranded. Jadeja removed Rahmat Shah with his first ball and then sent back their best batsman Asghar Stanikzai, whose tame push resulted in a catch to mid-on. There was no stopping the Indians thereon.


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