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We’ve ticked almost every box in last two games, says Rohit after T20I series win over Afghanistan

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Shillong, January 15: After half-centuries from opener Yashasvi Jaiswal and all-rounder Shivam Dube guided India to beat Afghanistan by six wickets and seal the series, captain Rohit Sharma said his team have almost ticked every box in both matches so far.

At the Holkar Stadium on Sunday evening, Rohit fell for a golden duck in the opening over of India’s chase of 173. But knocks of 68 off 34 balls from Jaiswal, his fourth T20I fifty and an unbeaten 63 off 32 balls from Dube, his second successive half-century, apart from a 92-run stand between the duo, helped India chase down the target with 26 balls to spare.

“We have been clear with what we wanted to do, very clear message to everyone and when you see a performance like that, you can be really proud. One thing is talking about it, but to actually go there and play that way is a proud feeling. The last two games, we’ve ticked a lot of boxes.”

“They’ve had a great couple of years, Jaiswal has played Test cricket now and even T20I. He has shown what he is capable of. He has the talent and has a great range of shots. Dube is a big guy, very powerful and can take on the spinners. That is his role and he has come out and played two crucial innings for us,” said Rohit after the match ended.

It was also Rohit’s 150th T20I game and though he fell for a second successive duck, the right-handed batter was pleased over reaching a significant milestone. “It is a great feeling, it has been a long journey starting way back in 2007. I’ve cherished every moment I have spent here.”

With the ball, left-arm spinner Axar Patel led the charge with figures of 2-17 while Arshdeep Singh picked three wickets to bowl out Afghanistan for 172 despite Gulbadin Naib’s 57. The performance was good enough for Axar to pick the Player of the Match award. He credited change in pace and sticking to his plans as his mantra for success in T20I bowling.

“Feels good, I just realised that I have got 200 T20 wickets. But what is important to keep doing well for India, honestly a few years later I won’t remember how many wickets I took. I have been trying to bowl a bit slower, vary my lengths and now I have been to gauge these things better. Now I have the confidence to bowl at all times, even in the powerplay.”

“You need to be mentally prepared as a bowler in T20 cricket. Ready to concede a six because that same ball could get you a wicket on another day. Earlier, I used to vary my plans if a batter was hitting me, but now I stick to my plans and make the batters take the chance against me.”

Afghanistan skipper Ibrahim Zadran was in praise of Naib’s performance, though he rued the inconsistency of his team in various phases of the game. “We were quite short. We had a good start in the powerplay. Sometimes we play well in the powerplay, sometimes in the middle (overs), and sometimes in the death overs.”

“We are going for the T20 World Cup, so we don’t want to repeat these mistakes. Gulbadin is the most senior guy in the team; we trust him and when he played a few shots in the powerplay, we wanted him to take that momentum throughout the innings.” (IANS)

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