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India vs Australia: 'Outstanding Performance on Batting Track' - Kohli Credits Bowlers for Win

Indian fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah picked six wickets between themselves which put the brakes on Australia at The Oval, and captain Virat Kohli had high praise for their performances in conditions that weren’t ideal for bowlers.

Cricketnext Staff |June 10, 2019, 10:16 AM IST
India vs Australia: 'Outstanding Performance on Batting Track' - Kohli Credits Bowlers for Win

Indian fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah picked six wickets between themselves which put the brakes on Australia at The Oval, and captain Virat Kohli had high praise for their performances in conditions that weren’t ideal for bowlers.

“It was an outstanding performance with the ball on a good batting track. You have to bowl well. You can't take things for granted,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.

When it came to the Australian innings, Indian bowlers kept the Australian top-order in check, especially David Warner who scored his slowest ODI half-century on Sunday.

"Well, we sort of felt like they were a bit hesitant in going for the boundary option, so the communication was very simple: Bowl at good lengths but within the stumps and pitch it up, because as a batsman I know when you're not looking for a boundary option, the last ball you want is a length ball on stumps because you have to play a good short to get a boundary.

"I just felt like at that stage they didn't want to lose wickets was the mentality that we felt, like they wanted to keep it so they could strike big in the end. But I think that was too big a total to play like that initially," Kohli said about keeping Warner under pressure.

The Indian skipper said that more than avenging the 2015 World Cup semifinal loss, the team was more motivated to turn the tables on Australia after losing the ODI series at home earlier this year, when the Aaron Finch's side were missing Mitchell Starc as well.

"Look, we were more motivated to win today because of the fact that we lost the series in India, being 2-0 up, and there was no Mitchell Starc, either. So him coming in makes their bowling lineup even stronger. So I think we had to be at the top of our game, as I said, and couldn't have asked for a better game in all three departments, set the tone the way we wanted to with the bat up front, getting a very good opening partnership," Kohli said at the post-match press conference on Sunday.

"I got runs, Hardik (Pandya) played outstandingly well, MS (Dhoni) played his role perfectly, KL (Rahul) struck the ball so beautifully. So from that point of view, I think we played a really good one-day game today, something that any team would want to do.

"And yes, the results in the past, we had to make sure that against this side, we win all the moments, the crucial moments. Once you let your foot off the pedal then they will capitalise because they're always looking to be on top of the opposition. So very, very pleased with this win," he added.

While the bowlers were in fine form and did their bit to stop what is otherwise a strong Australian batting line-up, the Indian team started things off with a solid century partnership between Rohit Sharma (57) and Shikhar Dhawan (117).

“A top, top win for us after losing that series in India. We came in with intent right from ball one. The opening partnership was outstanding.

"Yeah, look, the communication before that was if I get out, MS will come in to control that one end, and if the other guy gets out, if Shikhar got out, then I would have - sorry, Hardik would have stepped in. Exactly what happened, and the communication came from the management that said let's send Hardik and try and capitalise on this because last time we played here against Sri Lanka we got 330 and we lost the game," Kohli said about the Indian management's plan once Dhawan was dismissed.

"And then the fact that Hardik said to me in the middle of the fact that I'm there at one end gave him the freedom to strike from ball one, and he wanted to strike at 200. That was his plan, and then MS came in and he did the same job beautifully.

"Yeah, I think that's where management and that communication is very important, also. They understood that this is a phase where we could get those extra runs, and they just send Hardik, and I think that it was a very, very good plan," Kohli added.

The Indian skipper was impressed by Pandya's 48 off 27 balls in only his second World Cup knock.

"He (Pandya) knows he's batting really well, and in the past sometimes he tried too hard, but I think what this IPL has done for his batting is that he believes our he knows that he can clear the boundary whenever he wants. So he's not trying to over-hit the ball and he's just timing the ball so well, and when you know that as a batsman that you can clear the boundary and you necessarily don't need to make anything happen, the bowler is under pressure because he needs to get it right, that's the most amazing place to be in, and I think he's going through that," Kohli said about the Baroda all-rounder.

"Honestly, he doesn't really care what tournament he's playing. He just wants to go out there and express himself, and that's his strength, and he should always stick to is that strength, and that's why we back him so much, because he has game-changing ability and he believes in himself a lot. He's in a good space right now. Important to stay in that space, really have fun, which he's doing at the moment, and I'm really delighted to see him come back so strongly and just enjoying himself on the field. He's not taking things too harshly on him. He's just having fun and respecting the sport and just playing the sport for the love of it, which is really good to see," the skipper added.

Finally, Kohli said it too early to start dreaming about the 2019 World Cup semifinals.

"No, I think in my opinion it's too early to decide that. I think after about six games we'll be in a better position to know where we stand in the tournament, where we stand in the table, but we couldn't have asked for a better start against two strong sides.

"The good thing is we're playing all strong sides up front, so as I mentioned in Mumbai before we left, if we do well in the first phase, we'll be in a better position to reach the semi-finals. For us it's actually a good thing that we're playing the stronger sides in world cricket if you look at the rankings before the first phase gets over. From that point of view, we have to be at the best, at the top of our game, and precisely what we've done in the two games, and that's why we've won both," Kohli said.

India’s next match will be against New Zealand on Thursday (June 13) at Trent Bridge.

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