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Rohit Sharma Defends Wholesome Changes In Playing XI Despite Bangladesh Loss

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Shubman Gill’s 121 off 134 balls went in vain as India lost to Bangladesh by six runs in the final Super Four match of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023.

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Shubman Gill celebrates his hundred against Bangladesh in Asia Cup 2023. (Image: BCCI/Twitter)

Colombo: Rohit Sharma defended his decision to make five changes in the playing XI against Bangladesh after the Men in Blue suffered a six-run loss on Friday at the R Premadasa Stadium in what can be called a dead rubber in the ongoing Asia Cup 2023. India have already qualified for the final while Bangladesh were the first team in the Super Four stage to be eliminated after losing both their first two games.

After winning the first two games in the Super 4, the Indian management decided to rest Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav. Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Shami and Axar Patel replaced them.

While Krishna, Shami and Axar were economical with the ball, Varma failed with a nine-ball five. Like his previous innings, Suryakumar once again got the start but wasn’t able to make it big. “We wanted to give some game time to the guys, keeping the bigger picture in mind.

“Not compromising on how we wanted to play this game. Get in some players who are likely to play the World Cup,” Rohit said after the game. Sent into bat first, Bangladesh were in a spot of bother initially but Shakib Al Hasan’s 80 and Towhid Hridoy’s brilliant fifty took them to 265/8 in 50 overs.

In reply, Shubman Gill single-handedly took India closer to the victory with a 133-ball 121. Axar did try his best with a 34-ball 42 towards the end but, it was Bangladesh who held their nerves to eke out a narrow victory for their first win over India in Asia Cup after 2012.

“Axar batted brilliantly but couldn’t finish. He showed a lot of character. But credit to the Bangladesh bowlers,” said the India captain. He also heaped high praise for his opening partner who scored his fifth international hundred in the ongoing year.

“Gill’s hundred was brilliant. He backs his game, he knows exactly how he wants to play. Pretty clear on what he wants to do for the team. Look at his form over the last year. Pretty solid against the new ball. Works really hard, there’s no optional practice for Gill,” added Rohit.

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