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ICC World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli identifies batsman for number 4 spot after India crush Bangladesh in warm-up clash

Rahul was at his absolute best, he took on the bowlers, got going with a wide range of strokes and looked secured right through his innings.

cricket Updated: May 29, 2019 12:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ICC World Cup 2019,World Cup 2019,World Cup
India's Virat Kohli reacts (Action Images via Reuters)

India did not get off to an entirely bright start on Cardiff as the Bangladesh bowlers were on the money on a greenish track. They got rid of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, and then the stage was set for KL Rahul to stride out and nail down the number 4 spot, a spot which has been debated more than who will form the government in India.

Rahul was at his absolute best, he took on the bowlers, got going with a wide range of strokes and looked secured right through his innings. A superb century not only ensured India cruised through the middle phase, but also answered the dilemma around this spot. Captain Kohli was pleased with the effort and indicated that he could well walk out at the number 4 position.

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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 of Rahul who hit a 99-ball 108, after India’s big win in their final World Cup warm-up game.

“MS (Dhoni) and Hardik were superb as well,” he added.

Dhoni also scored a hundred -- a 78-ball 113 -- while Hardik Pandya contributed 21 from 11 deliveries down the order.

ALSO READ: ‘Number four sealed’ - Former cricketers hail KL Rahul’s century

“We were challenged by their batsmen as well but we bowled well and our spinners got wickets too. Bumrah got us the breakthrough and Chahal and Kuldeep got us six wickets,” Kohli said.

He said in the World Cup matches the ball might turn a bit in the second half and swing and seam would be important in the first fifteen overs. He said most of the teams winning the toss would want to chase.

“We have had two good challenges in the two games while batting first. Shikhar and Rohit are quality players, they become stars in ICC events. I understand if guys don’t get going rightaway in this format, but I am glad with what we got out of these two games.

“The last 15 overs could be challenging on the field, especially when the game is not interesting and you have to go through the motions. But once the tournament starts nobody would find all these things long, which is what you expect from a world class tournament like the World Cup.”

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said, “We have spent fours weeks here. So, a few players have some niggles.

“Looks alright (about his fitness), but we need to look after our bowlers. Our top-order is scoring some runs. Sowmya batted well, Liton and Mushy did a good job. Overall, the top-order batsmen need to understand their role.”

Watch: KL Rahul on batting at number 4, partnership with Dhoni

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: May 29, 2019 08:35 IST