Ajay Jadeja: KL Rahul is playing brilliantly

Ajay Jadeja was in all praise for KL Rahul, following the opener’s resolute match-winning knock in the first T20I against South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, September 28.
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“He has merely been playing what is asked of him”

After a mixed run at the Asia Cup 2022, KL Rahul struck a blistering 55 off 35 in the first T20I against Australia in Mohali last week, but failed in the following two games. The India white-ball vice-captain struggled for timing for a major part of his stay in the first T20I against South Africa on Wednesday, but held his end strong to finish with an unbeaten 51 in a run-chase of 107.

Rahul started off by playing out a maiden against Kagiso Rabada, and stood at 11 off 26 by the end of the powerplay as India registered their lowest-ever score at the end of six overs in a T20I (17/1). With Suryakumar Yadav at his fluent best at the other end, Rahul too, unleashed some big hits later in the chase, and struck two fours and four sixes, including a winning hit off Tabraiz Shamsi deep into the stands.

While the strike-rate of 91.07 didn’t make an impressive reading, former India cricketer Ajay Jadeja was in all praise for Rahul.

“You can see KL Rahul recovering from the last few games,” Jadeja said in a conversation with Cricbiuzz. “His most recent chance was a 39-ball 30-run knock in the Asia Cup. He has merely been playing what is asked of him since then after he has gotten into his rhythm.

“He is playing as brilliantly as we have ever seen him. Even today, he surpasses Suryakumar Yadav in the number of sixes.”

Parthiv Patel, the former India wicketkeeper, was highly impressed with Rahul’s defensive game against speedsters Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Wayne Parnell.

“Sometimes playing an innings like this gives you more confidence than scoring those fifties in 20 or 30 balls. You know that you have weathered the storm well and shown a lot of skill,” Patel said.

“KL Rahul was superb with his defence and was not trying to take singles down the third man area or bat in an unusual manner. On such pitches, you need a batter like this.”

The second T20I will be played in Guwahati on Sunday, October 2.