Need to lift our game: Shastri

Need to lift our game: Shastri

While lauding Virat Kohli’s imperious batting that has helped India stay in hunt for the title, team director Ravi Shastri underlined the importance of other batsmen contributing their bit.

“Oh, you would need it in a big game like the semifinal,” said Shastri when asked about rest of the batting unit’s coming to the party. “I still believe we've played (only) 70% to our ability, there's still 30% where we can improve. Let's hope it happens tomorrow, because in a semifinal, you've got to get your ‘A’ game. You can't depend on one or two players; you need six or seven players to step up to the plate. It has not happened really in this tournament so far, let's hope it happens tomorrow,” he offered.

The former India captain hailed Kohli’s innings (82 n.o., 52b) against Australia as outstanding. “It was an outstanding innings. One of the best you will ever see in T20 cricket. When you consider the occasion and the pressure, the kind of shots he played were quite unbelievable. All cricketing shots, and he sprayed the ground,” he remarked.

India’s build up to the tournament has been near perfect as they had scheduled 11 T20 Internationals, with eight of them in the sub-continent.

“At the end of the day, you want to be consistent and take it one game at a time,” he said about India’s preparation. “That's been our approach. With every T20 game that we played, we knew that there was a World Cup coming up, but we said let's respect the format from the very beginning and let's treat every game as a knock out. You want to win every game, which means it doesn't matter who the opposition is, you just play the game,” he reasoned.

While sounding confident about India’s chances on Thursday, Shastri also struck a note of caution. “I've said that from the beginning: they are probably one of the most dangerous sides in this format, because they've got explosive players, they've got match winners. We know what we're up against, and we're up and ready as well. This is not a knockout (game) for us. The knockout was the last game (against Australia). That was a quarterfinal, this is a semifinal,” he said.

Shastri was asked about what was his advice to the team after their defeat to New Zealand in tournament’s opener and he had this to offer: “In this format, you're bound to get a hiccup. I don't care what side it is. This format is so tight, things can happen quickly. There can be upsets, but deep down you have to focus on your strengths and keep hammering away at that. And take it one step at a time.”

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