India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday hailed the performance from the bowlers after registering a comfortable 8-wicket win over New Zealand in the first ODI. After being asked to bowl first, the visitors bowled out the Kiwis for 157 in 38 overs, with Mohammed Shami picking up 3 wickets and Kuldeep Yadav getting bagging four. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli said: “It was one of our more balanced performances in the last few games. When I lost the toss, I thought it was going to be 300 par. One-fifty-odd on that wicket was superb.”
The 30-year-old added that India’s fast bowlers believe they can knock down any side in the world. “The fast bowling group together believe they can knock any side over,” he said.
Speaking on Shami’s performance, who recorded figures of 19/3 in six overs, and earned the man of the match. “Shami has belief in his own ability and his fitness – this is the fittest I’ve seen him in his career. And his Test form has translated into one-day cricket,” he said.
The captain further praised the spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep and Kedar Jadhav who divided 7 wickets among themselves. “The pitch got slow in the second half of the innings but in the first half the spinners bowled well, cramped the batsmen and they still made it difficult despite the dimesions on the field,” he said.
Chasing 156, Shikhar Dhawan knocked an unbeaten 75 runs in 103 balls to take India to an 8-wicket win. Kohli recognised the role played by the left-handed batsman and added that it will boost his confidence. “Very important innings for Dhawan. We spoke about how he needed to finish games for India, to keep his confidence and if he’s in that mindset, he can be a great asset,” he said.
On being asked about the sun stopping play, the right-handed batsman said that it has never happened to him in his career. “Never had that happen. 2014, I got out once with the sun in my eyes and this rule wasn’t there then,” he said.
Shami talks about recovery from injury
Shami, who was the star player for India in the bowling attack, credited the staff for helping him recover from injuries that hampered his career. “Success boils down to the hard work by the team on the whole. And we always have plans for players. Plan A, Plan B. We can go from one to the next,” the bowler said.
“Coming back from injury, we have good facilities provided to us. It changed things for me a bit. It was big blow. For the next 18 months I was in rehab. I trained really hard and when I came into the team, everyone backed me, the management, the captain and so I was able to push my limits, keep getting fitter and fitter,” he added.