Following a resounding victory over South Africa, India skipper Virat Kohli praised his team for coming out with a highly professional performance in their World Cup opener at the Ageas Bowl.
Playing their first match in the ongoing World Cup, India on Wednesday came out with a brilliant bowling performance as they restricted the Proteas to 227 and then chased down the target with six wickets in hand.
After the match, Kohli admitted the conditions were challenging throughout the course of the game and that’s when his boys stood up to the competition.
“The wait was very long and then you get a game like this where it was challenging throughout. From our point of view it was important to start on the right note,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“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. Hats off to Rohit, his innings was special and also the guys who batted around him. I would say it was a professional win,” he added.
The Indian skipper also heaped praise on Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal, who bowled brilliantly to restrict South Africa to a below-par total. Chahal was the chief tormentor as he picked four wickets for 51 while Bumrah was lethal as usual and returned with figures of 2/35.
“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,” he said.
“With the new ball he was absolutely outstanding. I haven’t seen Amla get out like that in one-day cricket. Even Quinny (Quinton de Kock), he rushed him for pace.
“Chahal was outstanding as well,” he added.
While batting, it was Rohit Sharma who anchored the chase, scoring an unbeaten 122 on a track which was not at all easy to bat. His 144-ball knock was studded with 13 fours and 2 sixes.
Kohli labelled Rohit’s century as the “best ODI innings”.
“In my opinion this is by far his best ODI innings because of the kind of pressure the first game brings from a World Cup point of view,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Kohli as saying at the post-match media briefing.
During the course of the inning, Rohit surpassed Sourav Ganguly tally of 22 ODI centuries.
He is also now joint fourth among ODI centurions in chases. Kohli, who tops that list, said Rohit played the “perfect” innings. “In my opinion, of all the brilliant innings I have seen him play, I think this, for me, was the top of the pile because of the way he compiled his innings, and at no stage did we feel like, or he felt like he is going to throw it away.”
“I think controlling the game so beautifully from one end and allowing the others to display themselves and string in small little partnerships, looking at the fact that they were only chasing 228, he played the perfect innings for that kind of a situation, on that kind of a wicket, against a bowling attack that was threatening to pick up wickets at any stage. So, yeah, in my opinion, by far his best knock,” he added.