With only 22 runs scored from the first three T20 World Cup matches, it was Rahul’s opportunity to make the star turn with one of his better half-centuries (50 off 32 balls) and a magnificent direct delivery from the deep which became a turning point in India’s five-run win about Bangladesh.
“My emotions were good. We are all excited to be out here and we have all been looking forward to this World Cup for the past one year. I’ve always tried to stay balanced, whether I’m doing well or not,” Rahul said when asked about his mindset over the past week as he went through a string of poor scores.
“The team has given me a role and if I am able to do what the team wants from me, I can sleep easy,” the Indian vice-captain told reporters at the post-match conference.
The most encouraging aspect for the Indian team over the past four matches has been how different individuals have contributed to the team’s success.
“It was an important game for us. We all wanted to contribute. Today was an opportunity for me to stand up and be counted. Every game, a different person puts their hand up and makes it count,” said Rahul.
After an early exit from the last T20 World Cup, the Indian team, according to Rahul, worked hard to prepare themselves for tough conditions.
“We worked really hard and prepared for difficult situations. So that, when the time comes, we can execute our plans in those difficult situations.”
Speaking about his sensational direct hit from the deep to bowl off the in-form Litton Das, he said: “We all practice very hard on fielding. We work on our pitching and move quickly. The ball came and I hit the stumps.”
Rahul also spoke about the quality time he spent with Virat Kohli on the eve of the match during an indoor training session.
Asked to shed light on the kind of discussions he had with the maestro, Rahul said: “We talked about mindset and how we have been coming to Australia for a few years to play different formats but wickets this time were very challenging.
“He (Kohli) got runs and that means he did something right. So I wanted to know what the things are that he does.”
He thanked the coaching staff for keeping him in good spirits.
“Yes, there is certainly disappointment when you don’t score runs, but the support staff have always been very helpful.”
Rahul was full of praise for the little gem of a knock from Litton (60 off 27 balls) but said the Indian team was always confident of getting over the line.
“Litton played an exceptional knock and innings like this put pressure on opposition teams. He hit the bowlers of good length.”
But he admitted that rain breaks did help.
“Even without a rain break we knew once the Powerplay was over we could put pressure on them. We had the confidence and once the break was over, we were completely switched on,” Rahul added.