CARDIFF: The bright sun which lit up the afternoon after a typically gloomy, cold, wet morning in this part of the world, was sort of symbolic for both India andKL Rahul.
It was only six months back that his career looked in doldrums. Post poor form and a controversial interview given with India teammate Hardik Pandya, had seen both of them suspended from the tour of Australia. However, the 27-year-old slowly picked up a dismantled career.
A couple of 80s for India A followed by another brilliant IPL for Kings XI Punjab – 593 runs in 14 [email protected], with six half-centuries and a hundred to boot. He found his way into the World Cup team, but was unsure of a place in the XI, probably sure about being a reserve opener.
However, a self-generated crisis by India has now seen Rahul rise to the occasion, and hopefully, solve India’s No. 4 problem for good in the tournament On Tuesday at the Sophia Gardens here, he cracked a superb century (108, 99b, 12×4, 4×6) against Bangladesh in his second and final warmup match, before the real action starts.
With the other claimant to the spot, Vijay Shankar, falling for just two and later going for 46 in six overs without taking a wicket, it’s crystal clear that Rahul is walking in two at the time when India will start their campaign against South Africa at Southampton on June 5.
It was also a day whenMS Dhonismashed a brutal hundred (113, 78b, 8×4, 7×6), but it must have been Rahul’s ton which had brought smiles of relief in the Indian dressing room. In conditions where the bowler always has a chance, his middle order batting looks in safe hands now. In another piece of good news, a reliable source revealed that Kedar Jadhav is now fully fit. “He wanted to take it easy But Rahul’s form at No. 4 is heart-warming, “he said.
Coming in after the Bangladeshi seamers thrived in helpful conditions to send back both of the openers, who perished while playing, the Indian batsman was a big crisis when Virat Kohli was bowled and Shankar stuck off his bat out hanging while one needlessly
At 102 for four, Rahul joined forces with Dhoni and changed the mood in the Indian camp as quickly as the weather, which saw rain in the beginning of the game. The duo added 164 in only 128 balls for the fifth wicket as India 50 o’clock in seven for 359.
Chasing the stiff 360-run target, Bangladesh made 264, with only opener Liton Das (73, 90b, 10×4) and Mushfiqur Rahim (90, 94b, 8×4, 2×6) managing some useful batting practice during their 120-run stand. India thus walk in the World Cup with a morale-boosting 95-run run win.
To add to their gains from the Welsh capital, chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who was offcolour during the IPL, took three wickets, beating the batsmen in the air in his signature style, as did fellow leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.
Brief Scores:India 359/7 (V Kohli 47, KL Rahul 108, MS Dhoni 113; R Hossain 2/62, Shakib 2/58, beat Bangladesh 264 all out in 49.3 overs (L Das 73, M Rahim 90; J Bumrah 2/25, K Yadav 3/47, Y Chahal 3/55) By 95 runs