Sunil Gavaskar has lauded KL Rahul for taking India to a win in the first ODI against Australia at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday, March 17.
Hardik Pandya and Co. bowled out the Aussies for 188 after asking them to bat first. Rahul then scored an unbeaten 75 off 91 deliveries as the Men in Blue chased down the target with five wickets and 61 deliveries to spare to start the three-match series on a positive note.
During a post-match discussion on Star Sports, Gavaskar was asked about his thoughts on KL Rahul's knock, to which he responded:
"We said earlier as well that he has the technique and temperament but sometimes you need luck as well. Just like Virat Kohli, he was getting out to his first mistake, but his body language didn't use to be like Virat Kohli's."
The former Indian skipper praised Rahul for ensuring that India got across the line, elaborating:
"Virat Kohli used to get out but still his body language was different, he was confident. You could not have said the same thing about Rahul. But the way he batted today, he repaid the team management for the faith shown in him. He stayed till the end, it was not that he could do anything as he had scored a fifty."
India were in a spot of bother when Ravindra Jadeja joined Rahul in the middle, with the score reading 83/5 at the fall of Hardik Pandya's wicket. The duo strung together an unbroken 108-run sixth-wicket partnership to take the team home.
"He has been exposed to different-different situations" - Sanjay Bangar on KL Rahul
Sanjay Bangar pointed out that the presence of a batter like KL Rahul in the middle order stood India in good stead in Friday's game, explaining:
"Whoever bats at multiple positions, it becomes a strong point for them. He has been exposed to different-different situations. I feel it was a huge advantage that India had a player at No. 5 who could play well down the order and against the new ball as well."
The former Indian batting coach added that the wicketkeeper-batter put forth a strong case for himself for a middle-order berth for the World Cup later this year, stating:
"If you have a top-order collapse, which has happened in a few important games, you have a player who can see off the new ball and then can score runs all around the park. There is no area where he cannot play a shot. He has presented an extremely strong case for himself."
Rahul struck seven fours and a six during his innings. He reached his fifty off 73 deliveries and scored 25 runs off the next 18 balls he faced.
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