Sanjay Bangar Backs Virat Kohli-Rohit Sharma Opening Combination, Believes It Will Be Fruitful For India
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma Twitter

Sanjay Bangar Backs Virat Kohli-Rohit Sharma Opening Combination, Believes It Will Be Fruitful For India

Sanjay Bangar, former all-rounder credited India’s new opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, which was successful in the 5th and final T20 international against England on Saturday. India’s new opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli batted with an aggressive mindset as India scripted a 36-run victory in the series-deciding 5th and final T20I against England in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

KL Rahul’s repeated failures at the top prompted skipper Virat Kohli to promote himself up the batting order and the decision paid rich dividends immediately as the Indian captain and his deputy Rohit Sharma took the England bowling attack apart by laying a partnership of 94 runs for the 1st wicket.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma put on a 94-run opening stand on Saturday.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma put on a 94-run opening stand on Saturday. @BCCI

Sanjay Bangar: Virat Kohli Thrives On Timing And Finding Those Gaps And He Should Open With Rohit Sharma To Play Lot Of Balls

India’s opening partnerships registered scores of 2, 0, 7, 21 in the first four T20Is before Rohit Sharma (64) and Virat Kohli (80 not out) teamed up to add 94 runs in the series-decider, as a result of which the hosts managed to post 224 for 2 after being put in to bat by England captain Eoin Morgan.

Sanjay Bangar
Sanjay Bangar. Photo Credit: BCCI.

The hosts then rode on superb bowling performances from pacers Shardul Thakur (3 for 45) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2 for 15) to restrict the visitors to 188 for 8 and eventually win the game by 36 runs. India clinched the 5-match series 3-2.

“He (Virat Kohli) thrives on timing the ball well, he thrives on finding those gaps. He was doing all those really well. In the longer run. If he decides and if the team management decides that it’s going to be the way forward as to Virat Kohli and Rohit will open the innings, it means that two of their best batters are going to get a lot of balls to play.

“And this template is actually ideal for somebody like Virat Kohli who literally takes off once he passes that 30-ball phase,” Sanjay Bangar said on Star Sports.

Sanjay Bangar reckoned that since Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are two of India’s best batsmen, they should open to ensure they face a lot of balls. The two teams will now clash in the upcoming three-match one-day international series in Pune from March 23.

Sanjay Bangar had earlier said the Indian team will need a few more matches to figure out if an ultra-aggressive batting approach is suited to them in the T20Is. India lost the 1st T20I and the 3rd T20I but won the 2nd and 4th to level the series 2-2 before winning the decisive T20I by batting in an aggressive intent.

Virat Kohli Wants To Open In T20I World Cup And IPL Too

India dropped KL Rahul in the fifth T20 International (T20I) against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad to accommodate an extra bowler in the form of T Natarajan.

Captain Virat Kohli moved up to open the inning alongside Rohit Sharma, and the pairing gave India a blistering start. Their 94-run partnership in nine overs set India up for a mammoth total of 224/2, with Rohit Sharma taking on the role of aggressor, blazing 64 off 34 deliveries. It was his 22nd T20I half-century and put India in a strong position in the series decider. It was Rohit Sharma who dominated the partnership as Virat Kohli dropped anchor.

Talking about his role as an opener, the captain said, “I am going to open in the IPL as well. I have batted in different positions in the past. But I feel we have a solid middle-order now. I would like to partner Rohit Sharma through to the 2021 World Cup.”

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)

With opening batsman KL Rahul scoring 15 runs in four innings at an average and strike rate of 3.75 and 48.38 respectively, he was highly likely to miss this match. Virat Kohli has amassed 278 runs averaging 39.72 with 2 fifties in 8 innings atop the order.

Apart from Rohit Sharma’s 64 and Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 80, Suryakumar Yadav scored 32 off 17 balls and Hardik Pandya played a cameo towards the end by being unbeaten on 39 off 17 balls. Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 80 was laced with 7 fours and 2 sixes and came off 52 balls. All the Indian batsmen had a strike rate of above 150.

Virat Kohli was the highest run-getter in the series and was awarded Man of the Series for scoring 231 runs averaging 115.5 in 5 games. Shardul Thakur was the leading wicket-taker with 8 scalps averaging 21 in 5 games.