India had started poorly in the third and final Twenty20 International against Bangladesh at the VACA stadium in Nagpur. They had lost skipper Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan cheaply but they were revived by a superb partnership between KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. However, Bangladesh did not help themselves when they dropped Iyer on 1 and the duo went on to establish a solid stand. Rahul notched up his sixth fifty but he fell for 52. Bangladesh were pulling things back in the death overs but in the 15th over bowled by Afif Hossain, Iyer blasted three consecutive sixes and reached his maiden fifty.
Iyer's knock ensured India had momentum in the death overs to end on 174/5. The Mumbai right-hander believes that the three sixes in Afif's over was vital as India could have finished with just 150 or 155 without the onslaught. "The over in which I got three sixes shifted the momentum in our favour otherwise we would have finished with 150 of 155. It would have been a really tough to defend that total on this wicket where there was a lot of dew and pitch was getting better for batting. I would really give myself credit and also KL Rahul for the way he gave us the start," Iyer said.
Bangladesh, in response, made a spirited start and were led by Mohammad Naim's 81. The left-hander's knock became the highest individual score by a Bangladesh player in T20Is vs India.Iyer admitted that India were under pressure when Naim was batting well and had shared a good partnership with Mohammad Mithun.
"We were going a little bit lethargic I would say at the start and once they got going Rohit recalled all the players inside the circle and gave us a pep talk, which was really motivating and after that we were really determined to win the game," Iyer admitted.
Iyer has been performing consistently in the domestic circuit for the last couple of seasons now as India look to zero in on their number four batsmen. The No.4 spot was the achillees heel for India in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup but Iyer says he got to know that he would be batting at the No.4 spot after the team management told him about it.
"It has been a really important last few series for me to set the benchmark at the No. 4 position, which all of us are competing for at the moment. Even if Kohli and Rohit get out, we need someone to finish the game and bat till the end.' That is a No. 4's role. That's what I was trying to replicate today and it worked out really well for me. I am really open-minded and can bat at any number. So I just like to back myself in tough situations and today's innings showed that I can bat under pressure as well. The support staff have given me the freedom -- not just me but all the batsmen -- that you need to have that intent when you go in there. And you should feel very positive when you're batting. If the ball pitches in my area, I am not going to control myself. I'll bat according to my instincts," Iyer said.