KL Rahul’s blazing century and his 164-run stand with MS Dhoni, who also hammered a stunning century gave India a huge 95-run win against Bangladesh in their final warm-up game ahead of their first encounter against South Africa on June 5 in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The Indian cricket team’s batting order was more or less settled with some questions regarding the number four batting slot. However, Rahul’s knock in the game against Bangladesh has all but sealed the position ahead of the South Africa encounter. Virat Kohli, the skipper, acknowledged the significance of KL Rahul’s knock in that batting position.
“The biggest positive from today was the way KL (Rahul) batted at No. 4, everyone else knows their roles. It is important that he gets the runs and he is such a class player,” Kohli said. Rahul’s knock at No.4 will make the Indian team composition even more potent. Initially, Rahul was the reserve opener when MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors, had made the squad announcement. “To begin with, KL Rahul will be reserve opener. If the need arises the team management will take a call on him playing in the middle-order,” Prasad had said at that time.
Along with Rahul and Dhoni’s blazing century, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal picked up six wickets and highlighted how spin will play an important role in these conditions heading into the main tournament. “The ball might turn a bit in the second half but I feel the swing and seam would be important in the first fifteen overs. Most of the teams winning the toss would want to chase. We have had two good challenges in the two games while batting first,” Kohli said.
In the two warm-up games, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan failed to get going but Kohli was not too perturbed by their failure. “Shikhar and Rohit are quality players, they become stars in ICC events. I understand if guys don't get going right away in this format, but I am glad with what we got out of these two games,” Kohli said.
The warm-up games have ended and the main tournament begins on May 30 with England taking on South Africa at The Oval.