Virat Kohli-led Indian team continued their winning streak in South Africa after beating the hosts by 28 runs in first T20I of the three-match series in Johannesburg. After being put into bat, India posted a total of 203/5 in 20 overs and then restricted South Africa to 175/9 to clinch the win.
Kohli in his post-match presentation hailed his team’s all-round efforts in the game. “Very impressive from the boys. It was a good wicket to bat on. Although Rohit (Sharma) did not get many, but the start – 21 off 9 gave us the start. Shikhar (Dhawan) was outstanding. It was a total team batting performance. With the ball, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) showed his experience. We could always bank on Jassi (Jasprit Bumrah) and (Jaydev) Unadkat did well as well. This was one of our most balanced performances. We never let the run rate drop less than 10.5. I was thinking maybe 220 at the 16 over mark. The basic message to the team was we are here till 25th. We can’t go away before that and have to make the best of every time here,” Kohli said.
Kohli went off the field of play during South Africa’s chase leaving the leadership duty in MS Dhoni’s safe hands. Asked about the niggle, Kohli said it is nothing serious but a precautionary move. “The injury was early on in the innings when I went for the single. It was my glute and thankfully not my hammy. You know how I am, I had to bend bit more quickly. Then I felt a little bit more stiffness in my glute and that is why I went off. Not to be stupid and tear a muscle, I decided to go off and get it checked,” said Kohli.
Bhuvneshwar played a crucial role in India’s win as the right-hand bowler scalped a fifer. Kumar who was adjudged Man of the Match for his excellent display explained the plans that the Indian team had to counter the South Africa batting.
“I just wanted to bowl in the right areas. Seeing how they were bowling, we chalked out our plan. We wanted to take pace off the ball. When you do well in tough situations, you enjoy it. I have been bowling that knuckle ball with the seam up since the last one year. Worked on it in the IPL,” said Bhuvneshwar.
South Africa captain JP Duminy expressed disappointment at the loss and suggested that the batsmen didn’t apply themselves in a correct manner while chasing the total that could have been achieved. He also elaborated that South Africa didn’t get their line right while bowling first.
“Very disappointed. In the first six overs with the ball, we were always looking for wickets. We had a plan to bowl short at India. With the bat, in the beginning we never got partnerships. Back to the drawing board. If you don’t get the lines right, you are going to go for plenty. We just need to keep working hard and improving. 204 was definitely chaseable but we did not play well. Of course you cannot fault the new guys like Dala, Hendricks in this format. We seniors need to take more responsibility,” said Duminy.