After a high pressure Indian Premier League season, Ajinkya Rahane is enjoying the short three-match ODI series in Bangladesh. On Sunday, he finished Man of the Match after his 70-ball 64 helped India secure a seven-wicket victory in a rain-hit match in Mirpur, Dhaka. Rahane and Robin Uthappa (50) laid the foundation for the Indian victory with a 99-run opening stand.
"This is a great opportunity for everyone to just express yourself," Rahane said after the match. "We don't want to put too much pressure on ourselves. As a batsman you need that confidence going into a new series and the first game against Bangladesh in Bangladesh is always a challenge because they are a good team and they play well here."
Bangladesh did well to score 272 for 9 in their 50 overs after the hosts won the toss and decided to bat. Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim Shakib-Al-Hasan scored fifties while Anamul Haque and Mahmudullah scored forties. Debutant Indian spinner Parvez Rasool took 2 for 60.
Rahane's ability to hold the inning together was impressive. "I wanted to be not out till the end. Happy that we won the game though," he said. "That's what we wanted. We've got that momentum now and we just want to continue with it. We're not looking too far ahead. Right now, we are just focusing on the next two games. We want to back our game and personally I am not thinking too far ahead. I just want to bat well and improve my game with every match."
The second match will be played on Tuesday with the third on June 19.
India will be using this series to pick their core players for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Plus, the Bangladesh series will be a good one to prepare for the England series starting July.
"Every international game will count. I think youngsters and the newcomers are really talented and really hard working. The two debutants (Rasool and Akshar Patel) did really well too. It's a good learning experience for everyone," said Rahane.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim was unhappy after the defeat. No captain wants to lose a match after scoring 270 runs, but still Rahim thought Bangladesh were 20 runs short.
"After looking at that wicket I think we were 20 short," he said during the presentation ceremony. "But they batted really well, especially in the first 10 overs. Our bowlers also gave away loose balls. Their bowlers didn't do that. Decision at the toss can go either way. As I said this was a young Indian side. Had we got those 20 extra runs."
India skipper Suresh Raina said he was happy with the way his side played, especially the bowlers.
"Pleased with especially Robin and Ajju (Rahane)," said Raina. "Very happy with the bowlers, especially Rasool and Akshar. And obviously Mishra. It was very tough for the bowlers in these conditions. Both fast bowlers were cramping up. The toughest conditions we have bowled in, in terms of the heat. Robin has been batting well, and Ajju is one of the cleanest batsmen I have seen."
India will look to wrap up the series on Tuesday.