Kohli sees positives in defeat
New Zealand kept their cool to snatch a 22-run victory against India on Saturday and win the three-match ODI series with a game remaining.
The loss at Auckland’s Eden Park meant they had lost a bilateral series in any format for the first time since March 2019, when Australia triumphed 3-2 in ODIs. Since then, India have played 12 bilateral series across formats, winning 11 and drawing one.
Captain Virat Kohli though preferred to focus on the positives. He lauded the way Navdeep Saini (45 off 49) and Ravindra Jadeja (55 off 73) re-ignited a chase that looked buried at 153 for 7 after 31.1 overs.
“Particularly impressed with how we finished the game today. I thought in the first half we let things slip away from us a little bit,” Kohli said at the presentation. “You know 200 for 8 and they got to 270-plus. I thought we gave away 30-40 extra there. But having said that, we were in trouble with the bat as well. I think Saini and Jadeja showed great character to bounce back. Shreyas (Iyer) played really well as well.
“Look, we can take a lot of positives out of this particular game. As I said, one-day cricket in this calendar year is not as relevant if you look at the T20s and the Tests. But to show that kind of fight and to see who are the guys who can play like that under pressure is a big revelation for us. Pretty happy to see the fight that we showed in the end, but again, a game where we could have taken our chances and capitalised on it.”
On a chilly night, New Zealand defended a total of 273 by restricting India to 251 in 48.3 overs.
The win was more creditable as regular skipper Kane Williamson, along with top bowlers Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, were unavailable. New Zealand’s 6 foot 8 inch debutant Kyle Jamieson (2/42 and 25 off 24 balls) got the Player of the Match award for his all-round show.
Kohli was all praise for Saini’s batting.
“I think Saini in particular was brilliant. We didn’t realise how good he can be with the bat and the fight he showed is a great sign for this team. If people in the lower order can show that kind of fight then it obviously gives more confidence to the middle order and top order to play in a positive manner from the first ball.”
Saini lamented his dismissal. He had smacked Jamieson for a six but was bowled off the next ball.
“I will regret when I go back and see the video. If I hadn’t got out, may be the result could have been different. Will regret that I took it so close and maybe could have gotten closer,” Saini said.
“We felt the wicket was flat and if we could stay till the end, the match could go close. So we were trying to contribute as much as possible and take the match to the end. Jadeja had told me that if you get a boundary ball, hit it. Otherwise take singles or doubles, try to keep patience and we can take the game to the end.”
New Zealand were fined 60 per cent of their match-fee for maintaining a slow over-rate in the second ODI.