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India vs South Africa | Kohli Hails ‘Complete Performance’ on Challenging Southampton Track

Cricketnext Staff |June 6, 2019, 12:02 PM IST
India vs South Africa | Kohli Hails ‘Complete Performance’ on Challenging Southampton Track

India skipper Virat Kohli was happy with what he termed a “complete performance” after his team started their ICC World Cup 2019 campaign with a clinical six-wicket win over South Africa in Southampton on Wednesday (June 5).

“The wait was very long and then you get a game like this. It was challenging throughout the game. It was important to start on the right note and have a win that was a complete performance,” said Kohli.

"I think it was a professional effort from us. It was a low-scoring game, not the highest of totals you will see in one-day cricket nowadays. That was because of the way the pitch was throughout the course of the game and I think, from that point of view, we were very professional with the new ball in the middle overs, the spinners picking up five wickets between them, was outstanding who finished well.

“If you look at how the game went and pitch behaved, it was challenging. Hats off to Rohit. We were going to bowl first had we won the toss since with the new ball conditions were going to be difficult and they were coming off two losses.

“KL was superb and showed composure, MS too and then the way Hardik finished it he seems to be in a good headspace as well.

"I think overall we are pretty happy with how we played. Starting off well is always an important thing and we got together nicely as a team in the first half on the field."

After Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli fell early, Rohit Sharma scored a superb century to anchor India's chase and skipper termed this as opener's best ODI innings so far.

"I think 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. And then I know, as a batsman, when you go in and a few balls bounce like that, it's not easy to gather yourself again and play in a calm manner.

"A lot of times batsmen tend to hit their way out of the situation. But he was very composed, he was very -- he's played so many games, we expect a lot of maturity and a lot of responsibility from someone like him. But, 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."

Kohli also lavished praise on his spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

"We spoke about the fact the last time we played them, they were not that confident against our spinners. What we experienced was they were not able to rotate strike so well. They were trying to hit their way out of a situation which, for a captain, any day I would love batsmen trying to hit boundaries to get out of trouble rather than rotating strike because the risk factor is high.

"The spinners together also understood and realised that that is the scenario and they bowled accordingly. I think Kuldeep bowled really well, he controlled the game from one end and I think Chahal was outstanding, the way he mixed his pace, the ball wasn't turning so much, but even with a little bit of turn and help from the pitch what he was able to bring out of the wicket was truly brilliant to see.

"And breaking that crucial partnership and picking two wickets in an over was, I think, a game-changing moment for us, so both of them were brilliant in the middle overs."

Rohit Sharma, who was awarded Player of the Match for his unbeaten 122, said he had to curb his natural instincts while crafting together his innings.

"There was something in it for the bowlers through the game, I couldn't play my natural game. Had to take my time to play shots and had to do away with certain shots I love to play.

“I looked to leave a lot of balls initially and was just trying to stick to the basics and build partnerships even though it was a small total.

“All the batsmen in the team have a job and they believe it's their role to bat through and get the job done. We can't rely on one or two individuals and that's been the hallmark of this team.

“We've done that well, this is a big tournament and at some stage someone else will put their hand up and do the job for us.”

India next take on Australia at the Oval in London on Sunday (June 8).

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

7 6 1 0 12 +0.90
6 5 0 1 11 +1.30
5 4 0 1 9 +0.80
7 4 3 0 8 +1.05
7 3 3 1 7 -0.13
6 2 2 2 6 -1.11
6 2 3 1 5 -1.26
6 1 4 1 3 +0.19
7 1 5 1 3 -0.32
7 0 7 0 0 -1.63

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4674 111
5 Australia 4805 109
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more