INDIAN captain Rohit Sharma in action during the Group ‘A’ match against the USA at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.—AFP
INDIAN captain Rohit Sharma in action during the Group ‘A’ match against the USA at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.—AFP

NEW YORK: India skipper Rohit Sharma on Wednesday admitted it wasn’t easy playing on a two-paced newly-laid drop-in pitch at Nassau County ground and the team had to stick through till the end to notch up wins in each of their three matches in the ongoing T20 World Cup.

India recorded the highest successful chase at this venue when they scored 111-3 in reply to USA’s 110-8 after Arshdeep Singh (4-9), Suryakumar Yadav (50 not out) and Shivam Dube (31) played key roles.

“We knew it would be tough. Credit to us for the way we held our nerve and got that partnership. Credit to Surya and Dube for showing the maturity and taking us through,” Sharma said after the match.

The skipper seemed relieved more than happy that they have crossed the first hurdle at the global meet.

“Being in the Super Eight is a big relief playing cricket here wasn’t easy (as) it could have been anyone’s game,” he said. “We had to stick through till the end in all three games. We will take a lot of confidence from these wins.”

The Indian captain had praise for each of the three key performers while applauding Yadav for changing his aggressive approach to anchor the chase.

“He (Yadav) showed he has a different game to him, that’s what you expect from experienced players,” noted Sharma. “Credit to the way he stuck through today to take the game deep and win it for us.

“We knew bowlers had to take the lead (as) run scoring was difficult. All the bowlers did the job, particularly Arshdeep.”

Sharma believed said since seamers were expected to dominate, the team decided to give Dube a chance to roll over his arm too.

“You want options and we should be able to use them as and when we can,” he observed. “Today, the pitch favoured the seamers so wanted to use him,

Sharma was also full of praise for the USA players, a number of whom the right-hander was familiar with ahead of the T20 showpiece.

“(A) lot of these guys have played cricket together, very happy to see their progress,” he said. “Saw them last year in MLC as well, they are all hard-working guys.”

Having produced the best T20I figures for India, Arshdeep said he wanted to make full use of a seam-friendly surface.

“In the last two games, I gave away little more runs, (and I) wasn’t happy with that,” said the left-armer. “The team always shows belief in me and keep backing me, I had to deliver for them.

“The wicket is very conducive to fast bowlers and it’s helping us get some seam movement. The plan was simple, pitch it in the wicket and let the ball do the talking. Don’t give easy balls to score, our batsmen are also facing difficulties to score runs.”

USA’s stand-in skipper Aaron Jones, meanwhile, felt his side were competitive but fell a few runs short.

“(We were) 10-15 runs short,” he said. “If we got 130 then it would have been a tough total, that’s how it goes sometimes.

“The boys were very disciplined, really proud of the bowling unit. (It) feels good, this is what we wanted for USA cricket, enjoying it. We will recalibrate now, have a few meetings and come back strong.”

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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