Rohit Sharma reckons India would have defended 148 against Bangladesh on a slow pitch at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi had they been smarter on the field. Instead, the visitors sailed through to a first-ever T20 win against India, by seven wickets, to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Put into bat, the hosts got off to a poor start losing skipper Rohit in the very first over and being tied down to just 35 runs in the powerplay. Some disciplined and clever bowling from the Bangladeshi bowlers ensured that the Indians never got away, but for a late flourish from Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar. At the halfway point, 148 for six on a slow and sticky wicket seemed at least competitive but some major fielding lapses — none more crucial than dropping match-winner Mushfiqur Rahim in the 18th over — meant that it wasn’t to be.
"148 was a good score. We would have defended it if we were smart on the field. A couple of decisions we did not get it right on the field and that went against us. That's where we lacked in decision making," Rohit told PTI at the post-match press conference.
The hosts were also dealt with major blows with DRS calls, once in the case of Rahim himself. First, India did not review the decision when the umpire turned down an lbw appeal against Rahim — when he was on six — in the 10th over. Rishabh Pant then got it completely wrong in the last ball of that same over — bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal — for a caught behind appeal against Soumya Sarkar when there was no edge indeed. Rohit reviewed the decision on Pant's insistence, but would not throw the youngster under the bus for the error.
"Of course, Rishabh is young and he will need time to understand. It's too soon to judge whether he can make those decisions. Plus, the bowlers as well. It's a combination when the captain is not in the right position to make that decision. When you are not in the right position (as a fielder), you have to trust your bowler and the wicketkeeper. Based on that, you have to make that decision, whichever format you play," he revealed.
Although they didn’t pick up wickets at regular intervals, the Indians kept it tight, leaving the visitors needing 22 runs in the last two overs, Rohit handed the ball to young left-arm paceman Khaleel Ahmed, off whom Rahim hit four straight boundaries and virtually sealed the deal.
"These are the guys who did not play for a while in this format. These are bowlers we have been identified that they are the ones who can do well in this format. They have done reasonably well. They still need to understand when defending smaller targets, they need to bowl according to the plan. They will learn by playing these games. They have the talent and ability to bounce back but only time will tell if they can do that or not," Rohit added.
The second of three T20Is will be played in Rajkot on Thursday.
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