The Indian team continued their unbeaten start to the 2019 ICC World Cup as they managed a comprehensive 89 run (DLS method) win over Pakistan on Sunday. While Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya were prolific with the ball, it was the Indian openers on the day, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who got their team to a strong position early on with a century plus stand that helped their team set a daunting target of 337.
Rohit Sharma emerged as top scorer on the night with a ton, but his opening partner Rahul also played a stellar knock of 57 after being promoted up the order to take the place of the injured Shikhar Dhawan. Rahul’s first ever World Cup half-century set the ball rolling for the Indian team, gaining a lot of praise for his clinical knock.
Speaking on the 27-year-old’s fifty, former Indian captain and World Cup winner Sachin Tendulkar was quoted saying “There was a lot of surety and certainty in Rahul’s footwork when he opened the batting.
“Not for an instant did he make me believe he’s actually the number four batsman who has been promoted up the order. He seemed very confident about his approach, even while leaving the balls he was not at all tentative.”
Talking about his own innings, the Kings XI Punjab player said “I haven't opened the batting for a while. I've had to wait in the sidelines for this opportunity for a couple of years, so it was important to be smart and play out the first 10 overs, happy with the way I did.”
Hatsoff #KLRahul for getting a crucial fifty and giving our team a grt start.. 136 runs opening stand with #RohitSharma..— Kaushik LM (@LMKMovieManiac) June 16, 2019
Filling in for #Dhawan on the biggest stage, and delivering coolly @klrahul11 👌👏 #IndiaVsPakistan #INDvPAK #CWC19
KL Rahul cutting loose now... this could get ugly now. 134/0 -- This is now India's highest stand for any wicket vs Pakistan in World Cups...pic.twitter.com/hvTDhCVtpt— Ashish Magotra (@clutchplay) June 16, 2019
While Rahul has not been opening the batting for India in a while, he has been the designated opener for Kings XI Punjab since 2018; and has been their top run scorer for the Shers since the past two seasons. On the International front, he adjusted to opening like a fish to water, putting on 136 for the first wicket alongside Rohit Sharma, smashing a 23-year-old record of the highest ever Indian partnership against Pakistan in a World Cup match.