Rahul sizzled with a 28-ball 57 in the India’s series-clinching 16-run win over South Africa in the second T20I to silence his critics on Sunday.
The Indian vice-captain’s strike rate had come under scanner during the Asia Cup and his 56-ball 51 against South Africa in the series opener at Thiruvananthapuram.
“Yes, going at a higher strike rate was a demand of this innings,” Rahul said at the post-match press conference.
“When you are batting first you obviously want to give yourself a couple of overs to assess the conditions to see what are the shots that you can play, you talk to your partner,”
“You sort of give yourself a target and then you try and play accordingly. We’ve always tried to be more aggressive, take a lot of risks. That was what needed from me today and I’m happy that it came off today,” he added.
Rahul was seen hitting a couple of sixes effortlessly over fine square leg with his impressive wrist work.
“Yes, there’s a certain gift all of us have, that’s why we are playing for the country. We have gotten this far because there’s naturally certain talents.
“It’s T20 cricket, you have to get in position to try to hit sixes. When the balls come at 145kmph, you don’t have much time to see the ball and react, you hit with instinct. It’s a lot of practice over the years,” he said.
Their aggressive approach while batting was a conscious effort post the last T20 World Cup debacle in UAE where India failed to make the knockouts.
“That effort has been there for last 10-12 months since the last World Cup, that (scoring big runs batting first) is something that we have consciously tried to get better at. We’ve done it whenever we’ve gotten opportunities, something took back and that was our learning.”
In Pics: India beat South Africa by 16 runs to clinch T20I series
Bowling not a concern
Rahul also came to the rescue of India’s under-fire pacers who capped another poor outing here on Sunday.
Defending 237, India reduced the South Africans to 47/3 but the hosts were unable to break the 174-run partnership between David Miller and Quinton de Kock as the duo almost led the Proteas to a memorable victory.
“If it was such a big concern then I don’t think we would’ve won so many games. It’s never that one skill that wins you games,” Rahul said.
“We always want to keep getting better as a team. Today was one of those days when our bowlers couldn’t execute seven out of 10 balls or so but that doesn’t mean it will keep happening. This is something we need to learn and get better at.”
“In the last game they restricted the team to 106 and today they went for runs. You have to take into consideration the conditions also, the pitch,” the 30-year-old added.
Arshdeep Singh, who dismissed Temba Bavuma and Rilee Rossouw in three balls in his first over, leaked 62 runs in his four overs, while Harshal Patel had the poor figures of 4-0-45-0. Both of them are in the World Cup-bound squad.
The Indian opener, who hit a successive half century, added that the dew made it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball.
“It was humid and there was dew, so it was hard for the bowlers to grip the ball and when the opposition is chasing 240, you know batters are gonna come hard, try and smash every ball.”
“In a format like this, you will have good and bad days both as batters and bowlers. It’s a high intensity and high-risk game.”