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Regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Hats off to Rohit, says the captain

We might not have had the run rate, but if you look at how the game went and how the pitch behaved, it was challenging: Kohli

TT Bureau Calcutta Published 05.06.19, 10:20 PM
Virat Kohli leaves the field after being dismissed during the match with South Africa

Virat Kohli leaves the field after being dismissed during the match with South Africa (AP)

There was no upset, things went according to the script and at the end if the day, Virat Kohli was happy man.

That was the story of India’s 2019 World Cup opener, when they outclassed South Africa by six wickets in Southampton.

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While India thus began their journey with a win, the Proteas are struggling to do justice their World No.3 ranking, having lost all three of their matches so far. Injuries to key players haven’t made their job any easier.

But for Kohli, it was the happiest possible start possible. India’s first match of this World Cup came after about a week of the start of the tournament and the India captain did speak about the “long wait”.

“The wait was very long and then you get a game like this where it was challenging throughout… But the first win is always important. On the field, we were confident as a group,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Chasing a 228-run target, India needed 47.3 overs to complete their job. Run-making wasn’t easy, said Kohli.

“From our point of view it was important to start on the right note. We might not have had the run rate, but if you look at how the game went and how the pitch behaved, it was challenging,” he said.

The captain, who make only 18, was full of praise Rohit Sharma, who stayed unbeaten on 122, and the other supporting batsmen.

“Hats off to Rohit, his innings was special. And also the guys who batted around him. I would say it’s a professional win,” Kohli said.

Explaining how it was not very easy to chase down the not-so-steep total, the captain said: “With the bat, we had to work our way through because of the attack they have. That’s where Rohit’s innings was very, very special. You need the experienced guys to stand up.

“One of the top three getting a hundred is something we bank on. KL (Rahul) batted really well with him. Then MS (Dhoni) showed great composure. Hardik (Pandya) finished well too. He looks in a good headspace.

“It’s one thing to say we’re a strong team on paper, and quite another to be professional about the win in all three aspects.”

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and quite surprisingly chose to bat first. Kohli said he would have done the opposite. “We were going to bowl first,” he said.

Speaking about India’s bowling, Kohli said: “They (South Africa) were coming off two losses, so you have to make sure you get the first 15 overs right. Jasprit is operating at a different level to be honest. ”

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