Indian captain Virat Kohli roared back to form with a match-winning half-century to beat England by seven wickets and level the five-match T20 series. Virat Kohli has not been in the best of the forms recently, including going for a duck in the first T20I, which increased the pressure on him. The 32-year old specifically hailed the bowling unit’s efforts amongst every other as they kept England down to 164 only.
India picked five bowlers in Ahmedabad as they eliminated one to opt for an extra batsman. While England did not get off to a rollicking start after Virat Kohli put them to bat first, they got the odd boundary to keep going. Nevertheless, they performed a terrific job towards the end, limiting the tourists to 164. Jason Roy top-scored with 46; however, none of the other batsmen could convert their starts to significant scores.
Debutant Ishan Kishan got going even as India lost KL Rahul in the first over of the innings for a duck. The southpaw shared a 94-run stand with the Indian captain to push England onto the back foot as they kept leaking runs. All-rounder Ben Stokes dropping Kishan at 40 did not help their cause further. Rishabh Pant smashed a quickfire 26, followed by Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer staying till the end to finish the job. The skipper finished unbeaten at 73 off 49 balls.
I’ve always taken pride in doing the job for the team, so more happy about that than scoring 70 odd: Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli began by hailing the bowlers for giving away only 34 runs off five overs, mainly when it looked like England batsmen were teeing off. He particularly praised Washington Sundar, who used the big boundaries to good effect and observed that the pitch got better to bat in the second innings as the ball gripped less. The 32-year old did not forget to admire Ishan Kishan’s innings on debut as he took the game away from England through calculated hitting and Virat Kohli felt that it was something, his team needed.
The right-handed batsman, who got back to form, stated that he shifted his focus back to the basics and eliminated all the variables from his head. Kohli attributed his success to the team management and his wife Anushka Sharma – both of who keep talking to him. Kohli also credited Hardik Pandya for fulfilling the bowling roles allotted to him and promised that he would commit everything to be an all-rounder. The Delhi-born cricketer claimed that since England showed how good they are in the first match, they had to show professionalism to win the second.
“Quite a good game for us. I think we ticked all the boxes we wanted to. Specially in the first innings with the ball. To give away only 34 in the last five, very smart bowling. Specially Washy, he had only one left-hander to bowl to and he used the big boundary to the right-handers better.
It did get a bit better to bat in the second innings. The ball gripped a bit less. Having said that, they bowled too short, probably not on, on that surface. Special mention to Ishan. I tried to do what I can but he just took the game away from the opposition. Quality innings on debut. When you play in the IPL with such dominance like he has, against quality bowlers. We’ve seen him hit international fast bowlers for big sixes. He knew he was hitting the ball well but he was calculated, not reckless. Today that counter-attacking innings of his and our partnership was something the team needed.
I had to shift the focus back to the basics. Probably thinking of too many variables on the outside. I’ve always taken pride in doing the job for the team, so more happy about that than scoring 70 odd. Kept my eye on the ball. The management spoke to me about things. Anushka is here so she also keeps speaking to me about thinks. And I had a special chat with AB de Villiers before this game and he told me just to watch the ball. So I did!
Credit to Hardik that he’s bowling at least 3 overs for us in every game. And the next six to eight months period he’s promised he’s going to commit everything to being the allrounder the team needs in all three formats. He plays for the team in all times and these kind of players are priceless. England showed how good they are in the first match, so you have to be professional and finish the job properly. That’s what we did tonight” Virat Kohli told in the post-match presentation.