Rohit, one of India’s batting heroes in this competition, was asked if he thought this was India’s best chance to replicate its title-winning heroics of 2007. “This is our best chance – first to qualify for the semifinals,” he replied on Thursday (March 27). “We’re not looking too far ahead. Tomorrow’s game will be crucial. We want to make sure we win that and take things from there. There’s still a long way to go for the semis and the final. We’ll get three days off after tomorrow, we’ll plan things accordingly. This is definitely the best chance we’ve got to qualify for the semifinals.
“It’s important to focus on the match," he added. "We have got a big job on hand right now. When we came here, we were very determined to win this tournament and we’re definitely on our way to doing that. We’ve won two out of two.”
Ruling out complacency against a Bangladesh team short on form and confidence, Rohit said, “There should be no such thing as overconfidence in cricket. We will have the same attitude (as in the earlier games). We know Bangladesh can be dangerous on their home ground, in their conditions. Their players know what to do in these conditions. Our players need to be at their best to win. We can’t take them lightly. We want to keep things simple. We know what we need to do to win this game. I’m sure individuals are working on whatever areas they need. We’re going to treat this as another game. Obviously, the crowd will get behind them really well. We have to be at our best to win.”
Throwing his weight behind Yuvraj Singh, who has looked out of sorts thus far, Rohit observed, “For a batsman like him, it’s just a matter of one innings. If he has one good innings, his confidence will come back. He has been playing for so many years; he knows how to bat in this format. He’s been a great player for us in the past. He has won us many matches in T20 World Cups. I hope that game is tomorrow, that innings which he needs is tomorrow. It’ll be good for us if he comes into form.”
Rohit, who bats in the middle order for Mumbai Indians, has had reasonable success as an opener for India in Twenty20 Internationals. In this tournament, he has had scores of 24 against Pakistan and 62 not out against the West Indies, and said he was comfortable batting wherever the team wanted him to. “I’ve opened for India in the 2009 World T20 as well,” he said. “I’m just doing what the team management has asked me to. I’m happy and delighted with what has happened so far. I hope we keep continuing what we’ve been doing. I’ve been given this role and I’m trying to perform it to my best.”
India has been well served since June in limited-overs cricket by the opening combine of Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan. “When you have the right combination going around and you’ve batted for a while together, you understand each other very well,” said Rohit. “These things really matter when you play the short format -- little things like running between the wickets and taking singles. We’ve had a good understanding and a good run for the last year or so. The team expects a lot of us because we’re the ones who set the tone. It’s important for us to take on that challenge. It’s very important what you do in the first six overs in this format – whether you bat or bowl. As openers, it’s important we give the team a good start. We know we’ve got a good middle order to capitalise.”
India has taken its time getting to targets of 131 and 130 in its two previous matches, and while conceding that run-rate was a factor, Rohit said if the team continued to keep winning, the run-rate would take care of itself. “The wicket does indeed become slow (while chasing under lights). In both the games, in the second innings the ball was turning a lot. It was turning in the first innings as well but in the second, the ball comes on slower. Playing shots is not easy. We were expecting dew but it wasn’t there in the two matches.
“When we were chasing, the most important thing for us was to win the match. We were not thinking of the run-rate. In the next two matches, we’ll see what happens. If the situation offers us a chance to improve the run-rate, then we can go for it. (But) More important than the run-rate is winning the match. If we win this, we’re probably safe but we’ll definitely keep this run-rate issue in mind. But if you win matches, there’s no trouble with the run-rate at all. So the best thing is to win your matches.”