CHENNAI (Reuters) – Sealing victory with a six in a World Cup match would give unparallel joy to most cricketers but India’s KL Rahul had a bittersweet feeling about the shot that clinched Sunday’s game against Australia.
Chasing 200 for victory, India were reeling after three of their top four batters fell for ducks in the low-scoring contest at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.
Rahul, however, forged a match-winning 165-run partnership with Virat Kohli to help India prevail by six wickets with 52 balls to spare.
Rahul was on 91 and India needed five to win when the elegant right-hander hit Pat Cummins for a six through the off-side to seal victory.
After collecting the player-of-the-match trophy for his stellar 97 not out, Rahul said he wanted to hit a four and then go for a six to try to bring up his hundred.
“I hit it too well,” the versatile batter, at home anywhere in top and middle order, said.
“I wanted to get a hundred by going four and six. Hopefully, some other time I can get it.”
The 31-year-old had just taken a shower on a hot and humid day and was hoping for some rest but had to rush out after India’s top-order meltdown.
“I was hoping to put my feet up for half an hour after fielding, but I had to come in,” he said.
Rahul and Kohli frustrated Australia with their risk-free accumulation of runs, rotating the strike and running hard between the wickets despite the heat.
“Virat said we have to play proper shots and that I should play like test cricket for some time and then see where it goes,” Rahul said.
“That was mostly the plan and happy that we could do the job for the team.”
Twice champions India next face Afghanistan on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Ed Osmond)