India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was lavish in his praise for the brilliant Virat Kohli but had a word of caution for the other batsmen, who he thinks “need to step up” in the next two matches of the ICC World T20. India’s top order has been woefully short of runs with none among Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina getting significant scores on a consistent basis. (STATS || POINTS TABLE || FIXTURES)
“The others (batsmen) have to step up now. We can’t keep relying on him. I think the others are contributing but we need to step up our game. Barring Virat, we have been 60-65 percent in terms of our batting,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Dhoni has praised Kohli’s temperament and match-winning prowess a million times and it was no different on Sunday also.
“It’s not the first time I’ve enjoyed it (from the other end). He is been playing brilliantly over the last few years. He has kept improving his game. He is very hungry to score runs for the team and evolving with each match,” the skipper said.
The aspect of brilliant running between the wickets was also discussed and Dhoni said that it was their ability to target the best outfielders that made the difference.
“Running is a key aspect in modern cricket. If you can take singles against the best fielders or make a single into the double, the lesser fielders get under pressure. More than endurance, you need explosive power, because there is ample time for rest.”
The skipper termed 161 as a tough target on a wicket where it was not easy to hit during the middle overs.
“It was a tough score. They got 60 runs in the first six overs. The middle overs were tough and it was difficult to hit the ball from back of a length, especially against the spinners. We felt if we run well in the middle overs we had a chance,” said Dhoni.
Australian skipper Steve Smith conceded that they lost to Kohli’s indvidual brilliance as he felt that 160 was a par-score on this track.
“That was a pretty serious innings there under pressure. He hit it right out of the middle and he’s done it for a long time. Virat played an unbelievable knock. I think 160 was around par, it just took an unbelievable innings to get India over the line.”