India captain Virat Kohli lauded his bowlers after their efforts helped the team to beat New Zealand in a rain-curtailed tie in Thiruvananthapuram to seal the three-match T20 International series.
Team India’s formidable bowling was once again on full display on Wednesday (November 7), as Bhuvneshwar Kumar & party successfully defended 67 runs in eight overs to guide the Men in Blue to the series-clinching win.
With just 67 runs on the board, Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave the hosts a perfect start by dismissing Martin Guptill in the very first over. In the next over, Jasprit Bumrah sent back the in-form Colin Munro to set the tone for the home side. New Zealand could never recover from those early setbacks and were restricted to 61 for six.
It was a commendable effort by the Indian bowlers in conditions which were far from ideal for bowling. With the opposition needed less than nine runs per over and the ball not gripping as well due to rain, the Indian bowlers had their task cut out, but they passed the test with flying colours, leaving their skipper impressed as well as pleased.
Speaking after the game, Kohli heaped lavish praise on the bowlers and also revealed why he used his frontline bowlers early and gave the final over to Hardik Pandya when the Kiwis needed 19 runs.
“In the second innings, they didn’t give too many boundary balls,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference. “We wanted our best bowlers to get done early and leave so many runs, in the end, they would be left with a lot. They executed the plans well.”
“We had the confidence in Hardik, whose off-cutters are good,” he said. “The wicket was damp tonight, so the ball was sticking to the wicket. I tried going up to him (in the final over), but after three balls he said, ‘I’ll do it, you don’t have to worry.’ As a captain, when you get that kind of confidence from your bowlers, you aren’t left with much to say. He has confidence in his abilities, and he finished off the game well.”
Kohli further said the bowlers deserve ‘a lot more credit’ for their impeccable performance which eventually made the difference.
“They deserve a lot more credit than they usually get otherwise,” he said. “The game has moved forward as a batsman’s game, the shorter formats. When bowlers step up in the deciding games, it makes a difference. If you see, both teams got close to their totals, but it was the better bowling side which won the game.
“The game has boiled down to basically be that. If the wicket is not offering much to the bowlers, the team that bowls better usually wins it. Our bowlers have shown better nerves in tough situations, better than the oppositions for a while now. That is something that makes me very proud, and they are also very pleased with their efforts and execution of plans. We are quite confident where to stand as a team, and as a bowling unit they definitely deserve a lot more credit for winning these past few series that they have than they get usually,” he added.
Kohli also had a word of praise for the ground-staff who worked meticulously to make the game possible in Greenfield International Stadium which was hosting its first game.
“I would like to compliment the ground staff as well for making the game happen so quickly,” Kohli said. “It was raining for a while here, and the drainage system was outstanding. These things matter a lot. It’s a collective effort of everyone to provide a game to the fans. And the players, of course, want to play. You don’t want to come here for four hours and then go back to your rooms.”
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