Asia Cup 2022: Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing for us for years, no need to judge him after two games, says Rohit Sharma

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Asia Cup 2022: Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing for us for years, no need to judge him after two games, says Rohit Sharma
Asia Cup 2022: Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing for us for years, no need to judge him after two games, says Rohit Sharma

Asia Cup 2022: Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing for us for years, no need to judge him after two games, says Rohit Sharma

Following his side’s second straight loss in the Super Four phase of the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 against Sri Lanka, Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said that the batters failed to capitalise on momentum obtained during the middle overs and finish the game on a good note.

At the ongoing Asia Cup 2022, Sri Lanka defeated India by six wickets on Tuesday thanks to half-centuries from its openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis.

“We did not bat and score runs in the first six overs the way we wanted. But we got momentum after that. But we failed to capitalise on it and finish the game. I think we were 10-12 runs short, but 175 runs are defendable too. The way spinners bowled, they gave us hope and brought us into the match again. But we could not close the match the way we wanted to,” said Rohit in a post-match press conference.

When asked about Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s disappointing performances in the final two overs in two consecutive games, Rohit responded that the squad is not concerned.

“Even experienced bowlers go for runs. Bhuvi has been playing for us for so many years and has won us so many matches in death overs,” he added.

The captain said that only a few changes would be made later and that this current team is 90–95 percent ready to compete in the T20 World Cup in Australia.

“We wanted to try out certain things. Before Asia Cup, we had four seamers, two spinners and one of them being an all-rounder. I always wanted to try and find out what happens when you play three seamers and two spinners and one seamer is an all-rounder. When you play with quality, you want to challenge yourself. The fourth seamer was not available, as he was sick,” he said.

“There are a lot of questions that we need to answer, we have found answers for some while playing in the last 3-4 series. Somewhere sometime, we will draw a line and say “yes that this combination needs to play”. We will try out more players in Australia and South Africa series till T20 World Cup squad is announced.”

“We have the sixth bowling option but we want to try the combination of the fifth bowler. When we go to World Cup then we would like to go with six bowlers. We have played a lot of matches with six bowlers,” he concluded.

Rohit said that presently nothing is lacking in the team but playing in big events becomes difficult because more opponents fac e them with varied strategies.

The captain claimed that Sri Lanka’s excellent start changed the course of the match.

Rohit stated that the opponent is not treated lightly by the side.

“You have to play your best cricket to win against them. I do not really believe in favourites or underdogs. If you see the way Sri Lanka played in their last match, they do have quality in their team,” he added.

He dismissed claims that bowlers are discouraged and asserted that they are confident.

On the atmosphere in the dressing room, he said, “When you lose a lot of questions are raised. All the boys are relaxed or chilled. We have created the atmosphere of dressing in a way that it remains the same whether it is a win or a loss. We would not judge players due to a win or loss. They have capability, that is why they are here.”

With this win, Sri Lanka are now a step closer to reaching the finals. India, on the other hand, has a remote possibility of making it to the final game, and their chances now depend on the permutations and combinations that result from the games of the other teams.

Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis, Sri Lanka’s openers, got off to a strong start in their pursuit of 174 by hitting multiple boundaries and sixes. They contributed to their team scoring 50 runs in 5.2 overs.

Kusal Mendis (24*) and Pathum Nissanka (33*) led Sri Lanka to a score of 57/0 after six overs and the powerplay.

In the ninth over, both of the openers continued to punish the Indian bowlers by fending off two consecutive efforts to run them out. Nissanka mentioned his sixth fifty-year mark.

After 10 overs, Sri Lanka had 89/0 thanks to Nissanka’s (50*) and Kusal Mendis’ (39*) contributions.

Nissanka was taken out for 52 off 37 balls by Yuzvendra Chahal, ending their 97-run partnership. While attempting a reverse sweep, Rohit Sharma caught the batter at a backward position.

Charith Asalanka was caught by Suryakumar Yadav three balls after Chahal dismissed him. Sri Lanka had a 97-2 score.

Kusal maintained his strong beginning and turned it into a half-century. Danushka Gunathilaka joined him.

The pair maintained the scoreboard and assisted their team in reaching 100 runs in 12.3 overs.

With Ravichandran Ashwin scoring this time, Indian spinners maintained their strong performance throughout the game. Gunathilaka was caught by KL Rahul at long-off while attempting to go big, and he dismissed him for 1 of 7 balls.

The next player on the crease was Bhanuka Rajapaksa. Chahal secured the third wicket of the game by catching Kusal leg before wicket and dismissed him for 57 off 37 balls. With a score of 110/4, SL appeared to be in trouble.

The skipper, Dasun Shanaka, joined Bhanuka. After 15 overs, Sri Lanka had a score of 120/4, with Rajapaksha (7*) and Shanaka (2*).

After 16 overs, Bhanuka smashed two pressure-relieving sixes, and the score was 132/4. In the final 24 balls, Sri Lanka needed to score 42.

They needed 33 in 18 balls as they started to construct a new stand to turn things around for their side.

The next over was bowled by Hardik for Team India. The run flow for Sri Lanka did not stop, as the total after one over was 21 runs in 12 balls.

The following over was to be bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Even though Sri Lanka only only seven runs from the final over, he gave up 14 runs, including two wide balls.

When it was time to bowl the last over, Arshdeep arrived and bowled several tight yorkers. However, with Shanaka (33*) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (25*) on the fifth delivery of the over, Sri Lanka triumphed by six wickets with little to defend.

Chahal, who had a spell of 3/34, was the best bowler. Also taking a wicket was Ashwin.

Earlier, skipper Rohit Sharma’s quickfire half-century enabled Team India achieve a competitive 173/8 at the end of their 20 overs against Sri Lanka.

After decimating its top order earlier, the Lankan bowlers did not let any significant partnerships, save for a 97-run stand between Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav. After Suryakumar’s wicket fell, the tide once more went in Lanka’s favour.

Dilshan Madushanka, a bowler, bowled the first over of the inning while fielding first. And keeping Indian openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma quiet, only allowing four runs. In the second over from the spinner Maheesh Theekshana, Rahul attempted to relax his grip and hit a half-volley down the extra cover for four runs. However, after making 6 of 6 balls, he trapped lbw in the following ball. India’s odds were at 11/1.

Virat Kohli, a star batter, then called to the crease. Madushanka dislodged his stumps, forcing him back for a duck. Therefore he unable to remain on the crease for too long. At 13/2, India seemed to be in trouble.

On the crease, Suryakumar Yadav was the next player. By connecting with Asitha Fernando for a four and a six, Sharma released some tension.

Rohit persisted in making accurate shots to help India get through the powerplay unscathed. India was at 44/2 after 6 overs, with Rohit (29*) and Suryakumar (6*).

The pair enabled India to reach 50 runs in 7.1 overs. With sporadic big shots, they kept the scoreboard moving. They mentioned their 37-ball, 50-run stand.

With a four in the 10th over in just 32 balls, Sharma reached his second T20I fifty of the year and his 28th overall. Asitha’s 10th over cost her team 14 runs.

India was in a much better position with 79/2 after 10 overs, Rohit (53*) and Suryakumar (17*) on the crease.

Without letting the loss of the first two wickets stop them, Rohit and Suryakumar continued to pound Lankan spinners.

When Chamika Karunaratne dismissed Rohit Sharma for 72 runs (made of 41 balls), he put an end to the 97-run stand off 57 balls. Pathum Nissanka successfully caught him at deep-point. India was currently 110/3.

Hardik Pandya, an all-around player, entered the field next. Suryakumar soon caught for 34 runs on 28 balls by captain Dasun Shanaka. Theekshana caught him at short third man. India has a current score of 119/4.

The next batsman to come to the crease was Rishabh Pant, who started things off with a stunning boundary over deep midwicket and added another to conclude the 15th over. India had 127/4 after 15 overs because to Pant (8*) and Hardik (4*).

With the help of some sporadic huge hits and strike rotation, Pant-Pandya kept the Indian scoreboard moving.

Pandya taken out by Shanaka for 17 points in 13 balls, dealing India its fifth defeat at 149 runs.

Following Deepak Hooda, he took the field. His time at the crease was brief when Madushanka cleanly bowled him for 3 runs off of 4 balls.

As soon as Hooda dismissed for 17, Pant also dropped for Team India. He attempted to knock it over deep midwicket but caught by Nissanka off a Madushanka delivery. At 158/7, India was running out of recognised batsmen.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin tasked with scoring some runs to help India reach a respectable total. However, Bhuvneshwar  clean bowled for a duck by Karunaratne.

With Ashwin (15*) and Arshdeep (1*), India finished their innings at 173/8.

The best bowler for Sri Lanka was Madushanka, who finished with 3/24 in four overs. While Theekshana and Karunaratne each took one, Shanaka took two.