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Asia Cup 2014: Ajinkya Rahane happy to end poor ODI form

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Ajinkya Rahane looked in great touch against Bangladesh © Getty Images

By Tapan Mohanta

Fatullah: Feb 27, 2014

India began their Asia Cup 2014 campaign with a comfortable win over hosts Bangladesh  and talented batsman Ajinkya Rahane said the victory would give his side the momentum in the tournament ahead.

“Obviously it’s very important for us. Great momentum at the start of the series, and we’re just looking forward to the coming matches now. I’m really happy that we played really well overall,” Rahane said after India’s six-wicket win over Bangladesh which also snapped their eight- One-Day International (ODI) winless streak.

“We played good cricket, even the bowlers in the last five overs did really well. I think credit goes to the whole team and Virat batted brilliantly,” said Rahane who scored 73 and shared 213 runs with captain Virat Kohli (136) in India’s run chase of 280.

Rahane expressed happiness at playing a role in India’s win after his recent poor form in the ODIs in New Zealand.

Asked if he was under pressure after a string of failures in his last five ODI innings, Rahane said: “Frankly speaking, I was not thinking about the past. I was relaxed and just wanted to play my game.

“I was batting well in New Zealand, but could not convert those starts. I was disappointed. But I got a hundred in last (Test) innings in New Zealand, so I was confident during my batting. My plan was to take time initially and then play my shots. That worked today,” he said.

“I just wanted to spend time in the middle because the wicket was slightly slow and low and it was not easy to play shots initially. Even shot selection was crucial on this wicket. I was just talking to myself ‘keep playing till the end and we will see what happens’. That really worked today.”

On how he and Kohli planned their partnership, Rahane said: “It was not easy to play shots initially, the ball was keeping low. There was some odd bounce and uneven bounce. We were just planning to play straight initially and back ourselves to play our shots later on. Obviously Virat took his chances really well and that worked.”

Asked if he was disappointed at having not finished the run-chase himself, Rahane said: “I had it in mind that I should stay till the end and make the team win, because it was not that easy for a new batsman to play his strokes.

“During our partnership, our conversation in the middle overs was that we should stay together for as long as possible. The longer we stayed, the better it would be for the team. I was very happy that we had a good partnership and we could make the team win.”

He also praised the bowlers and said Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled well to restrict Bangladesh to 279.

“On this wicket, I think the bowlers did really well.

Bhuvi and Shami later on bowled wicket to wicket and it was not easy to hit that length.

“Jadeja and Ashwin are bowling really well. It’s just a matter of momentum and I’m sure they’ll do a good job for us in the coming games.”

Rahane said bowling coach Joe Dawes’ strategy of bowling to the dummies was working well.

“I think that is working really well. Joey [Joe Dawes] is really working hard with the bowlers in the nets and that is really crucial,” he said.

Bangladesh might have expressed concern over the dew factor but Rahane thought otherwise.

“It was there, but only after 38-40 overs. But 280 is a really tough task to chase, against any opposition. We really respect the Bangladesh bowlers and the Bangladesh team.

“Myself and Virat decided to just respect their bowlers and play our cricket, the way we are playing from the last few months. We just wanted to back ourselves.”

Rahane, who had a string of failures with his last five innings in New Zealand reading 2, 3, 3, 36 and 7, said he would not want to look back at the past.

“I think I was not backing myself then. I always like to be in the present… That’s my nature. If you think about the past and the future, you tend to put pressure on yourself.

Before going to bat, I just think that I have to play one ball at a time and on the merit of the ball.”

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