Nagpur: Praising the team for victory over Australia in the second One-Day International (ODI) here on Tuesday, Virat Kohli asserted that the grit and attacking spirit displayed by Indians during their successful defence of ‘a lowish’ total will stand them in good stead during the World Cup later this year.
Asked to bat first, Indians were dismissed for 250 runs before restricting the visitors to 242. “Just to come through in games like these, gives great confidence. I think it’s very important to look ugly at times and earn victories. There might be low totals in World Cup games as well. We will fight till the end, and tonight was an example of that,” Kohli said after the match.
Kohli’s century was the highlight of the Indian innings. Coming in to bat after Rohit Sharma was dismissed in the first over, the Indian skipper batted almost till the end, scoring 116 runs off 120 balls with 10 boundaries studding his patient innings. He received good support from Vijay Shankar, who scored 46 off 41 deliveries before being run out. The duo added 81 runs to boost the total.
Despite the low total, Kohli said he knew it would be challenging. “When I walk to bat, the situation gets difficult. I got no choice, just need to put my head down and bat. Me and Vijay had a good partnership. I’m totally exhausted now. He (Shankar) was batting outstandingly well, but was unfortunately run out. I knew 250+ will be challenging,” he said.
Talking about his century, his 40th in ODIs, Kohli said: “It felt good, but just a number. As long as I keep playing for India, I’m happy.” The skipper also praised Indian bowlers for disciplined performance. Lleft-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the most successful among Indian bowlers with figures of 3/54 in 10 overs. Shankar and fellow pacer Jarprit Bumrah claimed two wickets each.
“He (Shankar) just put the ball in the right areas. He showed great composure with both bat and ball; a good game for him. He’s (Bumrah) a champion. He just turned the game around. He’s at the top of the rankings, he’s at the top of his game. So proud to have him on our side,” Kohli remarked. “This type of pitch was tailor-made for him (Kedar). He was keen to bowl the last over as well. He was chirping and encouraging bowlers. He gives you 7 quality overs as well,” the India captain said.