India were dealt a huge blow when Shikhar Dhawan was injured and subsequently ruled out of the league stages of the World Cup. However, this gave an opportunity to KL Rahul to step up and walk out as Rohit Sharma's opening partner for the all-important match against Pakistan. And the duo did not disappoint.
Well, Rohit even allowed Rahul to take the first strike against Pakistan and the young man was watchful against Amir and this helped India to build a steady platform. Speaking about this move, Rohit said that it was Rahul who wanted to take the first strike as he was more comfortable in that role.
"Yeah, KL also likes to take the strike, and for me, it was important to give him that because just like me, he also has the mindset of taking the first ball. That is his comfort. He is playing his first game as an opener here, so I wanted to make sure that he's comfortable," Rohit said.
While Rohit wanted to give the younger partner more responsibility, Rahul too understands that he has to fill the big gap left behind by Shikhar Dhawan, but then does not want to feel the pressure due to it. He also said that he was happy waiting for his chance, but now had to make full use of the opportunity.
'Had to wait for my chance'
"Obviously Shikhar and Rohit for the last three or four years have been such a dangerous combination having done so well. They have owned those positions. I had to wait for my chance and I am just happy that I got to bat in the top of the order," Rahul told reporters.
Both batsmen were secure at their respective ends, but on more than one occasion, there was a breakdown in communication and if Pakistan were more awake, they could have got rid of Rohit Sharma early in the piece. The senior opener in Sharma acknowledges this as a new challenge, but then quickly throws in the fact that in international cricket, these challenges have to be overcome.
"These are the sort of challenges you face -- the understanding of when he wants to run that two when I want to take that single, and things like that.
"These are very small little things, but of course, eventually they add up to a whole lot for the team because at that point we never wanted to get run out. That was the last thing in our mind to do that," said Rohit.
Rohit also informed that they were speaking to each other a lot and trying to understand the gameplan. He also said that since Rahul was going to open in few more matches down the line, it was important to understand the mind space of each other.
Rahul conceded that he wanted to be cautious against the new ball and especially against Mohammad Amir as the left-arm seamer was a threat as he had shown in the Champions Trophy.
Rahul and Rohit posted a stand of 136 for the first wicket and this helped India to cash in as they ended with 336 in 50 overs.