India opener KL Rahul believes each game will carry lessons for India in the build-up to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2020 and was pleased with his contribution in India's series-clinching win in the third Twenty20 International against West Indies in Mumbai on Wednesday, 11 December.
Rahul anchored India's innings with a 56-ball 91, while skipper Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma both scored quick-fire fifties to propel them to 240/3 after being put in to bat. A bright start from the new-ball bowlers ensured that the hosts stayed ahead of the game throughout their defense, despite Kieron Pollard's blitz, as they wrapped up a 67-run win. Rahul views the result as a great chance to learn, as India aim to improve their record while batting first in T20Is.
“Both of them [Rohit and Virat] were in destructive mood in this game," Rahul said. "I’m very happy that we won the series and every game is important for us leading up to the T20 World Cup. It’s obvious that our batting first record hasn’t been that great. But this game was a great opportunity to make amends and we’re all very happy that it came off.
"This will give a lot of confidence and now we know what to do batting first. Each game will be important and a learning lesson for us before the World Cup."
Defending scores in the shortest format has been a worrying issue for India for quite some time now. Before their series-clinching win in Mumbai, Kohli's men had lost five of their last seven games while batting first, including the second T20I in Thiruvananthapuram.
At times you try to overachieve and it often happens, whether you bat first or second, you tend to fall short sometimes
"We are looking to work on our first innings whenever we have to start the innings," Rahul continued. "That’s something we have been doing. We start off thinking we want to get 200. That’s T20 cricket now. No total is enough. At times you try to overachieve and it often happens, whether you bat first or second, you tend to fall short sometimes.”
“We try and improve every time we get to bat first and today was a good confidence-booster for all of us. We can learn from this innings and hopefully, we can continue to do that more often.”
Rahul has had a tough time in the longest format and was dropped from India's Test team for the home series against South Africa. The shortest version though, remains to be his strongest suit and his overall returns in the series – 164 runs from three innings – gave further evidence of his pedigree as a T20 player.
"Like any other format, once you are set, you want to carry on and know what shots to play," he said. "Twenty20 has been kind and I try to do my best and play a role in my team’s results.
"What's in my control is to keep putting up these performances whenever I get the opportunity and I am not at that stage where I worry about whether I'll find myself playing the next tournament or anything [like that]. Whenever I get the opportunity I want to win games for my team and be out there in the middle and enjoy my batting, that's the place that I get most happiness right now – being in the middle and hitting the ball from the middle of the bat, so whenever that opportunity comes, I'll like to grab and enjoy it."
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