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World Cup 2019: One of the top three getting a hundred is something we bank on, says Virat Kohli

Riding on Rohit Sharma's gritty century and Yuzvendra Chahal's match-winning spell, India secured a convincing six-wicket win against South Africa at The Rose Bowl, in Southampton on Wednesday.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: June 6, 2019 1:15:29 am
Rohit Sharma celebrates with Hardik Pandya after India defeated South Africa by 6 wickets. (AP Photo)

Virat Kohli expressed happiness after India beat South Africa in their opening fixture at the Rose Bowl, Southampton of the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019. Riding on Rohit Sharma’s gritty century and Yuzvendra Chahal’s match-winning spell, the men in blue secured a convincing six-wicket win against the Proteas.

Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli lauded Sharma’s unbeaten 122 144 balls, which included 13 fours and two sixes with the bat and said that it was indeed a ‘special’ knock.

“Hats off to Rohit, his innings was special. With the bat, we had to work our way through because of the attack they (South Africa) have. That’s where Rohit’s innings was very very special. You need experienced guys to stand up. One of the top three getting a hundred is something we bank on,” the Indian skipper said.

The Indian skipper also praised the other batsmen for supporting Rohit right till the end. “KL batted really well with him. Then MS showed great composure. Hardik finished well too. He looks in a good headspace,” he added.

Speaking on the victory, Kohli said, “From our point of view it was important to start on the right note. We might not have had the run rate, but if you look at how the game went and how the pitch behaved, it was challenging.”

“I would say it’s a professional win. We were going to bowl first. They were coming off two losses, so you have to make sure you get the first 15 overs right,” he further stated.

In the bowling department, Yuzvendra Chahal was the leading wicket-taker with four wickets in his 10-over quota. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar shared two wickets each and helped India restrict Proteas on a moderate 227/9 in 50 overs.

Complimenting the bowlers, Kohli said, “Jasprit is operating at a different level to be honest. The way he’s bowling, the batsmen feel the pressure all the time. Not the other way round. Chahal was outstanding as well. There’s one thing to see a bowler bowl, but to catch that ball, to feel the heaviness of it. When I caught it, for 15 minutes my hands were buzzing. He’s not giving any freebies. With the new ball he was absolutely outstanding. Haven’t seen Amla get out like that in one-day cricket. Even Quinny, he rushed him for pace.”

Meanwhile, South African skipper Faf du Plessis expressed disappointment and said, ” I thought India were magnificent on a tough pitch. They bowled really well. Their bowling attack is strong – all bases covered. Fast bowlers initially and spinners who get wickets in the middle-overs. We clawed back with the bat again after the spinners bowled in the middle-overs. We started well with the ball again, but some great batting by Rohit, a bit of luck, but he did what we didn’t do – got a hundred, and saw the innings through. Two things: The build-up to the match, the info said, a lot of runs were scored, and the make-up of our team, with the fast-bowling resources gone, we went with spin.”

“If we had Steyn and Ngidi, we would have the chance to attack with overcast conditions. Rabada was an absolute champion – he was extremely unlucky, and I have never seen so many balls falling in different areas. That’s how it goes when you aren’t playing well. Little 50-50 things tend to go against you,” he added.

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