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‘Have to Embrace Everything that Comes Our Way’ – Kohli Justifies Decision to Bat First at Vizag

Cricketnext Staff |October 25, 2018, 8:35 AM IST
‘Have to Embrace Everything that Comes Our Way’ – Kohli Justifies Decision to Bat First at Vizag

Although his team escaped with a tie, Indian skipper Virat Kohli stood by his decision to bat first on winning the toss in the second game of the series in Vizag. India had comfortably won the first game in Guwahati chasing a target of 323 with almost 8 overs to spare. However, Kohli chose to insert the Windies into bat in Vizag, a decision that nearly backfired as the visitors came within a run of overhauling the target of 322.

“It's something we decided pre-game,” Kohli said. “Everyone wanted to bat first as it was hot and humid. But in hindsight, in big tournaments like World Cup or Champions Trophy, we might be batting first and we have to embrace everything that comes our way. The pitch was drastically different in the first and the second innings. We were looking at 275-280 but then I got going and we got those 30-40 runs extra.

“It was a great game of cricket and it’s wonderful to be a part of it. Credit to the West Indies team as they showed great heart, especially in the second innings, when they got stuck in despite being three down.”

With 5 wickets in hand and just 22 to get in the final three overs, Windies were favourites to get past the target. However, India were able to hold their nerve. Kohli was all praise for the efforts of his bowlers in the last three overs, as well as Kuldeep Yadav who made vital strikes with his wrist spin to keep India alive in the contest.

“When the run rate fell under six, I thought they were in a strong position to finish off well, but then Kuldeep got us back in the game,” he explained. “Chahal bowled a brilliant 47th over and Shami, Umesh came back beautifully. And the game nicely drifted in the last 7 overs.

“In the end, we had got the game but then one boundary off Umesh changed the course of the match. In the end, Windies deserved a draw at least and I think we did well to sneak in a draw.”

Kohli was also effusive in his praise for Shai Hope, who made a brilliant hundred, as well as Shimron Hetmyer, who followed up his hundred in the first match with a destructive 94 in Vizag.

“It was a beautiful partnership between both those guys but the way two teams played it was a fair result,” he said. “I have been watching Shai for a while now. He played that brilliant knock against England when they were chasing in the fourth innings. Hetmyer as well, credit to him. Hats-off to their strokeplay. I want to congratulate Shai on his hundred.”

While Kohli was named man of the match for his 37th ODI ton on the day he crossed 10,000 career runs, he also pointed to the contribution of Ambati Rayudu, who joined him in the ninth over and constructed a 139-run stand with him that allowed India to set a strong base. Rayudu, who has been identified by Kohli as the most likely occupant of the tricky number four slot, made 73 in 80 balls.

“I thought Rayudu was very professional today,” Kohli said. “I have mentioned before that he is someone we are looking at as a permanent number four. He reads situations very well. He plays spin really well and plays fast bowling really as well. He is a smart cricketer and very aware. He is in good momentum and good form.”

Wrist-spinner Kuldeep said that dew played a major part in the second ODI with the bowlers finding it extremely difficult to grip the ball.

"It was very difficult to bowl in the dew, the square was quick and there the ball was wet. I was having difficulty gripping the ball. But you have to consider these situations, we need to practice a lot," Kuldeep told reporters at the post-match press conference.

Kuldeep, who did not play the first ODI came back well in the second striking at regular intervals for his captain to return figures of 3/67 in his ten overs. He also defended the team's seamers Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, who went for plenty in their spells.

"Considering the situation they (Windies) were in at one point when they were cruising, we are happy as a bowling unit. With the dew also there, I think we did a good job."

The spinner also heaped praise on Hetmyer, who carried on from where he left in the first game smashing a belligerent 64-ball 94 which included four fours and seven sixes.

"Hetmyer was playing brilliantly, it was very difficult to bowl to him. I was trying to contain him, was really on to him and trying to get him out. He was not comfortable against me but a couple of sixes he hit changed the course," Kuldeep said.

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2 England 4253 266
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