Indian captain Virat Kohli had a night to remember as they drew first blood to go 1-0 up in the three-match ODI series against England in Pune. Virat Kohli was amongst the ones to score a half-century as India posted a competitive 317 to win by 66 runs. Despite making a strong start, the tourists could not keep ticking as they kept losing wickets frequently. Virat Kohli lavished praises on the way the team showed intensity to bounce back from setbacks.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan weathered the early storm and some disciplined bowling to build a 50-run opening stand. After Rohit’s departure, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan contributed 100 runs together; however, they lost four batsmen quickly. The onus was on KL Rahul and Krunal Pandya to deliver and they precisely did that. The duo added 112 runs in only 57 deliveries to push the total past the visitors’ reach when it came down to the last moments.
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow started steadily and attacked to race through to a 135-run opening partnership in less than 17 overs. The duo piled on the runs without sparing any bowler. Jason Roy perished for 46; however, England had victory in their sights since there were plenty of batsmen to come along. But India’s bowlers kept chipping away to leave the visitors reeling. With 94, Bairstow was the top run-scorer; however, nobody else could support him.
One of our sweetest victories in the recent past: Virat Kohli
Indian captain Virat Kohli said that it was one of their sweetest victories in the recent past since they have not won many ODIs. He credited the bowlers for bouncing back after going for too many runs initially and he underlined that they want to promote players, who back their skills. The 32-year old also praised Shikhar Dhawan’s innings and was glad to see KL Rahul amongst the runs. Kohli spoke about Shikhar Dhawan, who he believed had incredible body language and motivated the players while on the bench. Kohli conceded that Krunal and Rahul triggered a storm; however, he felt that if he was there at the crease, they could have reached 350. The right-handed batsman finally said that England batters played amazing shots and one could expect high-scoring games moving forward.
“One of our sweetest victories in recent past. We haven’t won many good games in ODIs. A comeback from all our bowlers. Going for few runs early on (Prasidh) and coming back was amazing. Krunal as well. Shardul, Bhuvi were amazing. I am a really proud man right now. Team showed great character and intensity. As I’ve mentioned in the past as well, we promote players who have intent and back their skills. Special mention to Shikhar’s innings as well. Didn’t get much after the first T20I. KL as well, back among the runs. So we want to back people who will do a selfless job. It’s a healthy competition between everyone for every slot. We have 2-3 players available for every slot. The management has done these discussions with senior players as well. We are on the right path. A special mention to Shikhar again. His body language was amazing when he wasn’t playing. He was motivating players, running with extra stuff like water.
Today he deservedly got the result he achieved. Made a very important contribution. You saw it was tricky first up and the openers had to start off that way. In that context, his innings was very important since he batted the tough overs. His contribution was better than what the scorecard was. Yes, could be (was England subpar). When I was batting, I told Shikhar that between 31-40 I’d look to take the bowlers on. We lost a few wickets and there was a brief pushback but Krunal and KL then took it away. If I had stayed with Shikhar around that 40 over period we could’ve got 350. England hit some amazing shots, and scores will be high scoring moving forward, and we’ll look to get bigger scores moving forward,” Virat Kohli said in the post-match presentation.