Ajinkya Rahane, playing his first match of the World T20 tournament, stood up to expectations of team management as well as cricket fans
Why is Ajinkya Rahane not in Team India's playing XI during the ICC World T20 tournament? It's a question that puzzled cricket lovers.
India batsman Ajinkya Rahane plays on the leg-side as West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin looks on during their semi-final match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Finally, Rahane got his chance at Wankhede Stadium and he made the most of it by providing a firm foundation to the Indian innings.
Rahane (40), who was playing his first match since the game against Pakistan in the Asia Cup T20 in Mirpur in February, played a confident knock with Rohit Sharma and then with Virat Kohli.
Rahane, who replaced opener Shikhar Dhawan, rotated the strike by placing the ball in to the gaps with ease. At the end of five overs, he had scored 11 off 10 balls while Rohit scored 23 in 20 deliveries with the team's score reading 35.
Rahane earned his first boundary in the fifth over of the innings bowled by Samuel Badree. While trying to play an inside out shot over the cover, he edged it towards the third-man boundary.
At the end of the Powerplay, India had scored 55 for no loss in which Rohit contributed with 41 off 26 balls while Rahane scored 12 in 11 balls.
The Mumbai man contributed well in two different partnerships, first with Rohit for an opening wicket stand of 62 in 7.2 overs and then with Kohli for the second wicket which reaped 66 runs in 50 balls.
The opener got out while trying to slam Andre Russell's short-pitched delivery only to find Dwayne Bravo at the mid-wicket boundary.
However, the India opener had played his role well and lived up to the fans' and more importantly, the team management's expectations with a strike rate of 114.28.