India captain Rohit Sharma blamed his side’s bowling efforts for their four-wicket loss to Australia in the first T20I in Mohali on Tuesday.
Hardik Pandya’s 30-ball 71 had propelled India to 208/6 in their 20 overs, following good knocks from KL Rahul (55) and Suryakumar Yadav (46).
However, Cameron Green led the Australian chase which was wrapped up by an unbeaten 21-ball 45-run knock by Matthew Wade to help the visitors chase the target with four balls to spare, eventually finishing with a 211/6 scoreline.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Sharma was blunt in his response when asked what the reason was behind India’s loss and said, “I don’t think we bowled that well. Honestly, 200 is a good score to defend and at the same time we didn’t take our chances on the field as well. That’s about it.
“I think we batted brilliantly to get to that score. It was a great effort from our batters but I thought the bowlers were not quite there and that can happen. Yes, there are things we have to look at but again, it was a great game for us to understand where we went wrong and what we can do better in the next game.”
On asked if dew played a factor in India’s poor bowling, Sharma said, “No, not as such. But there was something there. We always knew that when you come to Mohali, we understand it’s a high-scoring ground. No score is...even if you get 200, you can’t just relax. So we knew that we had to keep taking wickets at regular intervals and we did that to a certain extent but I thought they played brilliantly as well to come out and play like that and play some extraordinary shots. It was a great effort from their side.”
Sharma also praised the Australian batting for chasing down the target and rued India’s inability to break the match-winning 30-ball 62-runs partnership between Wade and Tim David.
“I mean, if I was in that changing room, I would be hoping that we can get that score. I’m sure Australia will be thinking the same because it’s such a beautiful ground to play on and you will always back yourself to get that score in four overs - 28 balls, 60 runs.
“But for us at the same time, it was just about that one wicket (partnership) between Wade and Tim David. And we were not able to do that. They got 60-run odd partnership in I think 32 balls which was the turning point from their perspective. If we would have taken the wicket there, things would have been different.”
With the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup less than a month away, Sharma praised his batting unit but confessed that his side’s bowling is a cause for concern going into the tournament.
“Great approach again from our batters to get that score. Like I said, it was a great effort. You can’t everyday score 200s. No matter what the wicket is, how good it is, you still need to bat well like Hardik did. He batted really well in the end to get that score for us. All in all, it was a great effort from the batting unit. But again, bowling is something we have to look at now.”