Promoted to the opening slot, KL Rahul rated his performance against Pakistan at six out of ten, saying he will only get better after his composed fifty helped India set up a challenging total against the arch-rivals.
With Shikhar Dhawan ruled out of three World Cup games following a hairline fracture on his thumb, Rahul opened the innings with Rohit Sharma in his first international match against Pakistan here Sunday.
Rahul, who made 57 off 78 balls as part of the record 136-run opening partnership with Rohit, said he is grateful to get the opportunity to realise his dream of representing his country against Pakistan.
“Shikhar and Rohit, in the last three or four years, have been such a dangerous combo. Their partnerships, if you see anywhere in the world, they’ve played so well for the country and they’ve been No.1 and 2 they’ve owned those positions,” said Rahul.
“I’ve had to wait for my chance and I’m just happy that I got to bat in the top three. It’s my first international game against Pakistan and it has come in a World Cup so I couldn’t ask for anything bigger or better.
“As a kid or as a young cricketer growing up this is what you dream to do I’m really happy that I got the opportunity and I give myself six out of ten! Hopefully I carry on the confidence and get better.”
The 136-run partnership was India’s best first-wicket stand in an World Cup match against Pakistan as the two-time champions set an intimidating total of 336/5 against their arch-rivals.
Rahul stressed on the need to fight in the initial few overs to build up a partnership.
“With the new ball, against any bowler, it’s important to see off the first few overs. That was especially true here because we didn’t know what to expect from the wicket as it had been under covers for the past few days,” he said.
“Once we got through those, we felt a lot more comfortable. For an opening batsman it’s important to hit a few balls in the middle of the bat and get a few boundaries going.
“Then you start to focus on the game and all the pressure, the hype of India-Pakistan and the World Cup stage just goes away from your head. The initial few overs are the fight, so we were happy to get through that and happy to get the win,” he added.