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T20 World Cup

Rohit Sharma praises India's "fearless" approach in win over Afghanistan

T20 World Cup

After a vital victory against Afghanistan to keep their T20 World Cup hopes alive, India’s Rohit Sharma believes the do-or-die nature of their semi-finals push brings the best out of his team.

What your team needs to do to reach the T20 World Cup semi-finals

The Player of the Match in India’s 66-run win over Afghanistan, Sharma top-scored with 74 from 47 balls, combining with fellow opener KL Rahul (69 off 48 balls) in a partnership of 140 to put their team in command early.

Posting 210/2, India’s total is the highest score of the tournament thus far, and Sharma believes a pivot to playing with little inhibition was the catalyst of India’s victory.

Video cwc19 03 Nov 21
Match Highlights: India vs Afghanistan

“We know that if we lose any game from here on now, we are out of the tournament, so we have to win everything, and when you are in that kind of situation, you have to play fearlessly, not think too much about what is happening or what is happening elsewhere.”

Questions have been asked of India’s tactics and team composition at the tournament, who up until yesterday struggled in defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand. Losing the toss and put into bat, Sharma believes the approach quashed any doubts of a repeat performance, also taking the perceived unfavourable Abu Dhabi conditions out of play for teams defending a first innings score.

“When you post a total like that, you can take the pitch, the conditions, the dew factor out of play if you bat like that.”

“As long as we keep batting like that, we get 200, (and) we don't have to worry about the pitch and the conditions.”

Video cwc19 03 Nov 21
Rohit Sharma sizzles with brilliant half-century

Sharma has reached fifty for India 27 times in his T20I career, with only his captain, Virat Kohli, passing the milestone more in the shortest format (29).

Filled with undoubted individual talent, fans lamented the collective performance in the first two matches, with some pointing to team members playing different roles during the recent IPL. Sharma believes there is enough international experience in the team for players to adapt to new situations.

“If I look at the top six, seven batters ... these guys have been playing for a long time, so they don't need to be told what they need to do in the Indian team.”

“It's not that they're playing the first game or the second game for the team. They've been here for a long time now, so they understand their roles.”

“These guys are all experienced, and when you have experience in the team, it's just about going in and adapting to the situation as quickly as possible.”

Video cwc19 03 Nov 21
Virat Kohli: the man to lead India to the semi-finals? | T20 World Cup

India face Scotland and Namibia in the final two matches of the Super 12 stage, still needing two victories and other results to go their way to progress. For Sharma, the nothing-to-lose mentality will continue to spur the team on.

“We are a very good team. It's just that we were not good on that particular day against Pakistan and New Zealand. But yes, (the win over Afghanistan), it's pretty much sums it up that this is the kind of team we are, and when we play fearlessly, this is what we get.”

India play Kyle Coetzer’s Scotland on Friday in Dubai.

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