‘Wanted to Test Ourselves After Heavy Hamilton Loss’: Rohit Sharma

‘Wanted to Test Ourselves After Heavy Hamilton Loss’: Rohit Sharma

Cricket

Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma revealed his side wanted to test itself in tough conditions after a humiliating defeat at Hamilton, and lauded his team’s character after they completed a 4-1 series victory in New Zealand by winning the fifth ODI at Wellington on Sunday, 3 February.

India suffered a heavy defeat in the fourth ODI after they were dismissed for just 92 runs, but the visiting side bounced back in the final game by posting 252 and winning by 35 runs despite having initially been reduced to 18/4.

The Hamilton loss, the way we lost was big. We needed to get together as a team. I knew there was some moisture on the pitch. If the series was alive, we would have chased but we wanted to test ourselves today.”
Rohit Sharma

Also Read : India Defeat NZ by 35 Runs in Last Overseas ODI Before World Cup

‘Rayudu-Shankar Turned the Game’

Ambati Rayudu (90) and Vijay Shankar (45) shared a 98-run partnership to resurrect the Indian innings, before Hardik Pandya (45 off 22) and Kedar Jadhav (35) powered them to a competitive total.

Rohit heaped praise on Rayudu and Shankar, saying their partnership was the turning point of the match.

“After we lost four wickets, all we needed was somebody to show application. Rayudu and Vijay Shankar did that. The partnership between them turned the game for us and the way Hardik and Kedar played in the end was magnificent. We showed a lot of character.”
Rohit Sharma

‘Can’t Ask for More from Bowlers’

Rohit also lauded the efforts of the bowlers for producing crucial breakthroughs.

“The wicket got flat at the end, but at one point it looked an easy chase, but the bowling unit came together. Lot of people put their hands up and got us through. Bowlers got crucial breakthroughs at critical times. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Rohit Sharma

Also Read : Twitter Hails Men in Blue’s Recovery as India Claim 4-1 Win in NZ

Working Out Combinations

Rohit said the ODI series in New Zealand helped India have a look at how the bowling combination could work out without Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested after the Test series win in Australia.

“When you want to win games, you need a right balance, especially when Bumrah is not here. Coming here and beating NZ at home is never easy and they are a good travelling team as well. 4-1 is a great achievement.”
Rohit Sharma

Also Read : Super Shami, Robust Rayudu, Package Pandya: India’s NZ Report Card

Rayudu, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, said it was tough to face a good attack and his idea was to preserve wickets and take the innings the distance.

“It was tough against a quality attack. I was thinking we should take the game to the 30th over without losing a wicket. Me, Vijay and Kedar batted... People who bat at 4,5,6 get a chance only when it's tough,” he said.

“It's important to stay prepared. The game in Hamilton was one-off. Great effort by our bowlers to defend it.”

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson admitted his team crumbled under constant pressure while chasing a tricky total.

“First of all a different surface. They got to a par total, maybe a few more. We knew it would be tricky, but we did not take it further. We just lost wickets at the wrong time. They did it very well,” Williamson said.

“I suppose as batsmen we need to soak that pressure up and take those decisions. Throughout the series, they got us under more pressure. We were able to revert the pressure but not long enough and often enough. Credit to India, they showed us a lesson and they deserve the series win.”

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