Kl Rahul was in some mood in second T20I against South Africa and when he is in his colors, there are not many who looks more pleasing than him. He set the tone off the very first ball in Guwahati, when he rose with the bounce to punch Kagiso Rabada to the point boundary. His next shot was a wristy pick-up for six over square leg off Wayne Parnell in the fourth over.
“The first ball, the back-foot punch really set me up,” he said. “When I play that shot, in my mind, when I play both sides of the wicket especially, I know my balance is pretty good. I hit the first ball square of the wicket on the off side, hit a few balls on the leg side, so it tells me head is stable and my positions are good.”
Rahul admitted that he is very satisfied from playing two impactful contrasting innings in the series so far. In the first match on the tough and testing conditions of Thiruvananthapuram on a greenish surface with bounce and lateral movement, he played a gritty knock of 51* with strike rate of less than 100 and on the contrary, in the second match, he played with strike rate of 200+.
“Going at a higher strike rate was a demand of this innings,” Rahul said. “When you are batting first you obviously want to give yourself a couple of overs to assess the conditions to see what are the shots that you can play, you talk to your partner.”
“You sort of give yourself a target and then you try and play accordingly. We’ve always tried to be more aggressive, take a lot of risks. That was what needed from me today and I’m happy that it came off today. It’s T20 cricket, you have to get in position to try to hit sixes. When the balls come at 145kmph, you don’t have much time to see the ball and react, you hit with instinct. It’s a lot of practice over the years.”
While there have been a few concerns recently over the Indian bowling line up, Rahul defended them by pointing out the need to take the conditions into consideration, “If it was such a big concern then I don’t think we would’ve won so many games. It’s never that one skill that wins you games,” Rahul said.
“We always want to keep getting better as a team. Today was one of those days when our bowlers couldn’t execute seven out of 10 balls or so but that doesn’t mean it will keep happening. This is something we need to learn and get better at. In the last game they restricted the team to 106 and today they went for runs. You have to take into consideration the conditions also, the pitch.”
Rahul also observed that the presence of dew during the run chase made it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball, “It was humid and there was dew, so it was hard for the bowlers to grip the ball and when the opposition is chasing 240, you know batters are going to come hard, try and smash every ball,” he noted. “In a format like this, you will have good and bad days both as batters and bowlers. It’s a high intensity and high-risk game.”