Captain Virat Kohli lavished praise on Man of the Match Navdeep Saini and the rest of his teammates after India’s comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the second T20I, at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Tuesday.
What also pleased Kohli was that the win came even without India’s limited-overs powerhouse Rohit Sharma, who has been rested for this series.
After Saini (2/18) and Shardul Thakur (3/23) tightened the screws on the Sri Lankan batsmen, restricting the visitors to a modest 142/9, India rode KL Rahul and comeback man Shikhar Dhawan’s strong opening stand and the third-wicket partnership between Kohli and Shreyas Iyer to reach home comfortably with 15 balls to spare.
With the first match in Guwahati being a no-result due to rain, India take an unassailable lead in the three-match series.
“Yeah, very happy... It was a clinical performance, something we wanted to do as a team,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
“We have gone from strength to strength from the last series. Even though we didn’t have Rohit, we had a convincing win, which is a very good sign for the team.”
Talking about Saini, Kohli highlighted the yorkers and bouncers that the tall quick can execute. The pace he can generate hasn’t quite made the going too easy for rival batting units.
“Navdeep has come into the ODI circuit as well and is gaining more confidence in T20 cricket. You can really see him letting himself go.
“When he does that, he can clock those lightning speeds which he did. It’s great to see him getting people out with yorkers and bouncers, and with pace. It’s a really good sign for the team,” Kolhi emphasised.
Jasprit Bumrah wasn’t too impressive in his comeback game, finishing with 1/32 off his four overs. But his return itself is a major boost to the side, Kohli feels.
“We are really pleased to have Jasprit back in the side. He’s bowling with pace again.”
The Indian squad will be having “one surprise package” for the T20 World Cup in Australia — someone who can bowl with pace and extract bounce.
“You’ll have to figure out the people who are very similar in their bowling skills, and you pick the senior one. I think one guy will be a surprise package going to Australia, someone who can bowl with pace and has bounce.”