A ‘priceless’ experience for Scotland, Ashwin’s return and Rashid’s confidence

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Indian fans during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between India and Scotland, at Dubai International Cricket Ground in Dubai (ANI Photo)

T20 World Cup: As the action goes on in the Gulf, we bring you the best of glimpses from the field and off it 

Our Bureau
Dubai/Abu Dhabi

Skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin were among the Indian players who interacted with Scotland cricketers after the team’s thumping in ICC men’s T20 World Cup here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja starred with the ball before KL Rahul and Rohit’s firing knocks helped India defeat Scotland by eight wickets. After India’s win, Rohit, Kohli, Bumrah and Ashwin were seen interacting in a “priceless” chat with Scotland players in their dressing room.

Rahul also on Friday interacted with Scotland players. Moments after hitting a 19-ball 50 to take India home against Scotland, Rahul spent time speaking to some of the Scotland players as he shared his experience of playing at the top level against some of the best in the business.

“Huge respect to @imVkohli and co. for taking the time. Priceless,” Scotland Cricket captioned the post in a series of tweets.

“We spoke about the 8-10 over bracket before the start, didn’t want to really go too hard because if you lose wickets, then an extra 20 balls could cost. We thought that if they play naturally, runs will come quickly,” said Kohli after the win.

Hasaranga is a superstar in the making: Shanaka

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka said that Wanindu Hasaranga is a superstar in the making after the team thrashed West Indies by 20 runs, ending their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 on a high on Thursday.

Hasaranga scalped the important wickets of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard while giving away only 19 runs in his entire spell. Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka’s inspired batting helped propel Sri Lanka to a victory over the West Indies. The pair put on 91 for the second wicket, with Asalanka making 68 and Nissanka 51, as their side soared to 189 for three to set a challenging target.

Kieron Pollard’s men were never equal to the task and the late heroics of Shimron Hetmyer, to the tune of 81 not out, were in vain as they ended on 169 for eight from their 20 overs.

“A very good victory, the youngsters have worked hard to get this win and I’m happy for them. The bowlers were on the spot, as they have been for major parts of the tournament. I knew they had potential (on Nissanka and Asalanka), they have worked hard, they have a long career, and a lot of cricket to come. They’ll have a place in every team,” Shanaka said in the post-match presentation.

“The team is moving in the right direction, the fans have been behind us throughout, we are thankful for them, everyone here and around the world. He is a gem (on Wanindu Hasaranga), a superstar in the making. It’s still the start of his career. He needs to be protected as he’s a real prospect in world cricket,” he added.

Sri Lanka finished an encouraging tournament with 5 wins after the 8 matches. While West Indies will hope to end their title defence with victory over Australia on Saturday.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard and England caption Eoin Morgan shake hands after toss during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 match between West Indies and England at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in Dubai (ANI Photo)

It’s heart-breaking, says Pollard as WI exit  

Kieron Pollard declared himself ‘heartbroken’ but ‘determined’ to fight on in the international game as West Indies’s Super 12 fate was confirmed with defeat to Sri Lanka on Thursday.

The Windies saw their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title defence flounder further as they went down by 20 runs in Abu Dhabi, making the top two an unreachable target. Pollard’s side were second best with bat and ball with the skipper pointing his finger at the former as central to their struggles. “I think it’s heart-breaking,” said the skipper after the match.

“A lot of different things might have gone wrong from the start of the tournament, during the tournament. The batting has struggled throughout the entire tournament. It has been disappointing, it’s something we’ve seen over and over and it’s something that hasn’t helped us.” he said.

“We just have to accept we weren’t good enough. The guys are disappointed, I am disappointed myself. Hopefully at the end of the campaign when it’s finally over, we’ll be able to sort of give some information what we think or what we thought might have gone wrong,” he pointed.

The vaunted powerful West Indies batting line-up has failed to fire thus far, with Andre Russell scoring seven runs and Chris Gayle 30 in four tournament innings. Pollard himself had to go from ball one in the run-chase and went for a golden duck, bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga to encapsulate his side’s struggles.

With one more game to come against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Pollard’s final message was a resolute one.

“Unless you are part of the decision that is going to get rid of me or fire me or retire me, as I stand right now, I have no intentions of not playing international cricket,” said the 34-year-old.

Family is our place where we can lean upon: Ashwin

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Thursday expressed gratitude towards his family for always supporting him during tough times.

India will next lock horns against Scotland at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday and the side would hope to register a comprehensive victory to further boost their net run rate in order to remain in the hunt for the qualification for semi-finals. “I owe a lot to my family. Many times, when team the loses and we click photos with our families, people go after us saying that we are on a holiday. We are hardly on a holiday. When we back to our rooms after having a good or a bad day, the family is our only place where we can lean upon,” said Ashwin during a virtual post-match press conference.

“They have played more than a small role in the last 8 months. We had some great results and also some not so good results but that is what happens on the field. Off the field, we are also humans, we also have families and I am extremely grateful to my wife and kids for always being there for me,” he added.

Ashwin was given his first game in the ongoing competition against Afghanistan and he proved why people asking for his inclusion in the side were right. The off-spinner returned with figures of 2-14 in his four overs and he was the main reason why Men in Blue managed to maintain a stranglehold over the Afghanistan batting order.

Defeat not going to make big difference: Rashid Khan

After suffering a 66-run defeat against India in the Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan said that the result would not affect them, and they are still filled with confidence.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul had played knocks of 74 and 69 as India posted a total of 210/2 in the allotted twenty overs. Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin combined to take five wickets as India registered a 66-run win. “Looking to the wicket it’s a wicket where you can chase 170, 180, but that extra 30 runs, it’s always like a good — like in India they have a big batting line-up so they try to use the last three, four overs, which they took the total to 210,” said Rashid during the post-match press conference.

“Yeah, I think that was the kind of mindset of the players, that already the Indian team, they struggled in the first two games in the batting department, so we as a team just tried to attack in that department which they struggled, and if we have success we can be on a winning side. They played good cricket, and they just took the target to 210, which was on this wicket a bit much, like 20, 25 runs. But yeah, credit goes to them,” he added.

When asked whether expectations are taking a toll on Afghanistan, Rashid said: “I don’t think that there is a kind of pressure on us expectation-wise. We know our skills. It’s all about playing against those big teams, it takes time. We have to play with them more in a year in order to get used to them, understand them, their weakness, strong point. Then you work on your areas where you can come back stronger. I think as a team we hardly get the opportunity to play with them, against India and other good sides. We don’t get that opportunity. We only play with them in the World Cup.”

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