T20 World Cup 2024: Taming the wind was key to victory against Australia, says Rohit Sharma

Captain Rohit Sharma with Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah are seen during the ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2024 match against Australia at Gros Islet on June 24, 2024.

Captain Rohit Sharma with Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah during the ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2024 match against Australia at Gros Islet on June 24, 2024. | Image credit: KR Deepak

For India, victory in their final T20 World Cup Super Eight match against Australia was no walk in the park as captain Rohit Sharma said he would have to fine-tune his batting to take the wind out of the sails of the 2021 champions.

Rohit played some superb shots on the off side as the ‘Man of the Match’ scored a match-winning 92 from just 41 deliveries, just as his opening partner Virat Kohli was dismissed without conceding.

Thanks to Rohit’s seven boundaries and eight sixes, India posted 205/5 and then restricted Mitchell Marsh’s side to 181/7 for a 24-run win and moved into the semifinals of the showpiece event.

With the wind being a constant hindrance, Rohit said he had to play more shots on the off-side to soften the impact.

“I realised right from the first over that there was a strong wind blowing across. They (Australia) changed their plan and bowled against the wind, so I realised I had to clear the off side as well.

“You have to take the wind into account and understand that the bowlers are also smart and will open up all sides of the field. If you keep an open mind and don’t just think about one shot, you can reach all areas of the field,” said the Indian national team captain after the match.

“200 is obviously a good score but when you play on a pitch like this where the wind plays a role, anything is possible but I think we exploited the conditions very well. It was very pleasing to see us get through those overs and take the wickets at the same time.” Rohit also said he knew wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav would be at his best in the West Indies after encountering seamer-friendly conditions in the US.

Kuldeep took an excellent 2/24 in his four overs.

“Kuldeep, we know what his strengths are but you have to use them when you need them. The pitches in New York were suitable for seamers but we knew he would play a big role later.” Rohit categorically said he was only concentrating on maintaining the “tempo” of the game and was not at all concerned about his century.

“It was a good wicket and you should try to trust yourself to play shots like that. I’ve been trying for a couple of years now and I’m glad it worked out today. The fifties and hundreds don’t matter, I wanted to bat at the same pace and keep going.

“Yes, you want to score high but at the same time you want the bowlers to think about where the next delivery is coming from and I think I did that today,” he added.

The captain added that he would like India to continue playing as they have done so far in the knockout rounds.

“We don’t want to do anything differently (in the knockout rounds). We want to play the same way, understand what each player has to do in a certain situation and play freely.”

“So far we have been consistent in doing that and in the semi-final we have to try and do the same. It will 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 win the game.” Australian captain Mitchell Marsh, guilty of a miss and unable to build on his good start with the bat, admitted that India were better on the day.

“It’s disappointing. Technically we still have a chance to go through but today India outplayed us. I think there are a lot of small differences over the course of the 40 overs but honestly India were the better team.

“We have seen for 15 years what Rohit Sharma can do in that kind of mood and he has taken off. In a chase like that, you are in if you can keep it at ten runs (10 runs per over) for as long as possible, but India were too good for us.”

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