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India vs Afghanistan | Our Shot Selection Could Have Been Much Better: Kohli

A beaming Virat Kohli lauded the effort his side insisting India's hard-fought 11-run win over Afghanistan at Southampton was "right up there" among the best.

Cricketnext Staff |June 23, 2019, 7:12 AM IST
India vs Afghanistan | Our Shot Selection Could Have Been Much Better: Kohli

A beaming Virat Kohli lauded the effort his side insisting India's hard-fought 11-run win over Afghanistan at Southampton was "right up there" among the best.

Batting first, India could only muster 224/8 from their 50 overs on a tricky Rose Bowl surface. However, an all-round effort from the bowlers kept things under control as India bowled Afghanistan out for 213.

"It's right up there to be honest," said Kohli on India's win. "We have been playing really good cricket. You expect yourself to win the toss and put up big runs on the board. Then you see the nature of the pitch slowing down drastically and then you decide, 260 maybe 270 maximum. We thought 250 would have been par and 270 would have been an outstanding effort.

"But a team like Afghanistan who has a lot of talent does not let you play like you want to play. We did have some sort of doubts at the halfway mark as to what's going to happen in the game.

"I think everyone had collective belief in the change room that we can win this one."

While almost every batsman had the toughest time on the surface, Kohli cruised his way to a 63-ball 67. Speaking about his knock, the Indian captain said that he quickly judged the pace of the surface and knew that playing with a straight bat was the way to go on this surface, something which the rest of the batsmen did not adhere to. He also heaped praise on the Afghanistan bowlers, in particular, the spinners Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi.

"As soon as I went in I understood the pace of the pitch, and I thought cross-batted shots are not on," Kohli remarked. "You have got to play with a straight bat and I rotated the strike. Our shot selection could have been much better, we played a lot of horizontal batted shots that cost us a lot of wickets.

"You really can't take the game away from the opposition, you have to respect the pace of the pitch and knock the ball around for ones and twos and work yourself into an innings. But then again, once you lose a wicket, on a pitch like that with three quality spinners it is always going to be difficult. I though Nabi bowled really well also. They really put some pressure on us in the middle overs."

A dejected Afghanistan captain, Gulbadin Naib, said that he was proud of the way his bowlers performed but admitted his side should have crossed the line had one of the batsmen gone on to score 80-plus.

"We played really well in the first innings. The bowlers bowled really well. We know India have a strong batting line-up. Bumrah was superb at the death - in the last two, three overs," said Naib.

"Spinners bowled according to the plan. Rashid, Mujeeb, Rahmat. Everyone bowled well. In the end it was a good game. The total was not big, but we needed someone to make 80. 30s are not enough to cross the line. We lost badly in the first half of the tournament, but we have played some good cricket in the second half and I am happy with the way the team has performed."

Naib was also effusive in praise of Mohammad Nabi whose measured 68-ball 52 almost got Afghanistan over the line.

"Nabi showed his skills, he is one of the best player of Afghanistan and also the world," Naib said. "He has a slight problem in his left leg so he couldn't run fast. He struggled, he tried to finish but Bumrah is the World No. 1 bowler. Nabi did his job but it wasn't enough."

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