Put into bat first in the first T20 International against Australia at Visakhapatnam, Lokesh Rahul remained unperturbed after returning to the side following his absence from the international side for more than a month.
He even remained unfazed when the prolific Rohit Sharma departed in the third over, as he kept his head down to try and ensure India put on a decent total on what turned out to be a difficult wicket. Only in the preceding over, he had played to his strengths, timing two deliveries from Jhye Richardson that came in towards the boundary. Rahul had lost none of his confidence.
Even after Sharma's exit, Rahul continued to give the treatment to Richardson, now resolute to forge a partnership with captain Virat Kohli, who attested that the Kings XI Punjab batsman needed more playing time.
The duo put on 55 for the second wicket before the skipper returned to the dugout. And so the next ball that Rahul faced went for a six, straight down the ground, well over Adam Zampa's head.
He brought up a well-timed fifty in 35 balls and then spooned the next delivery to mid-off, done in by Nathan Coulter-Nile, who was eventually declared the Man of the Match. The 26-year-old had seen the boundary six times in his knock, along with that one maximum.
#INDvAUS— Chetan Sanghi (@ChetanSanghi) February 24, 2019
Rahul Ka Time Aa Gaya 👏👏
Timely 50 🏏
India were 92/4 at the start of the 13th over at the time, and could only manage 126/7 at the end, which Australia chased off the last ball of their innings. But Rahul had done his bit.
"He played a really good knock," Kohli reflected. "Me and him had a really good partnership and I would have liked it to go on a bit longer. If we had reached 150, it could have been a winning total on this pitch."
Just wanted to put it out - On a pitch everyone struggled. KL Rahul was timing the ball really well.— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) February 24, 2019
I just hope he gets consistent and scores big. He's very very blessed and skilled.
Shot selection and mindset is what will will decide how far he goes.