“One of our sweetest victories in recent times” – Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow.
Virat Kohli celebrates the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow.
Modified 24 Mar 2021

Virat Kohli has described his team's win over England in the first ODI in Pune as one of his sides’ 'sweetest victories' in the format in recent times. It was a significant observation, as India had won only one of their last six ODIs (0-3 in New Zealand, 1-2 in Australia) before the clash in Pune.

Chasing 318 for a win, England blazed away to 135 without loss inside 15 overs and were on course for a comfortable win. However, once they lost their openers, the visitors collapsed to 251 to lose by 66 runs.

In the post-match presentation, Virat Kohli praised his bowlers, saying:

“This is one of our sweetest wins in the recent past. We haven’t won many good games in ODIs — a comeback from all our bowlers. Going for a few runs early on (Prasidh Krishna went for 22 runs in his third over) and coming back was amazing. Krunal as well. Shardul (Thakur), Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) were amazing. I am a really proud man right now. The team showed great character and intensity.”

Shikhar Dhawan’s body language was amazing when he wasn’t playing: Virat Kohli

Shikhar Dhawan, who was dropped after the first T20I, returned to the ODI side and made an immediate impact, scoring a 106-ball 98 to bag the 'Player of the Match' award.

Praising his Delhi mate's effort, Virat Kohli said about the left-hander:

“A special mention to Shikhar again. His body language was amazing when he wasn’t playing. He was motivating players, running with extra stuff like water. Today, he deservedly got the result he achieved. You saw it was tricky first up, and the openers had to start off that way. In that context, his innings was very important since he batted the tough overs. His contribution was better than what the scorecard says".

Virat Kohli also agreed with his counterpart Eoin Morgan that India’s total of 317 was a sub-par one on the surface.

“When I was batting, I told Shikhar that between 31-40, I would look to take the bowlers on. We lost a few wickets, and there was a brief pushback, but Krunal and KL then took it away. If I had stayed with Shikhar around that 40 over period, we could’ve got 350,” Virat Kohli observed.

Virat Kohli also stated that the Indian team management would continue to back 'selfless' players, saying there’s a healthy competition in the side with 2-3 players available for every slot.

Despite missing out on key players like Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, inexperienced players rose to the fore and grabbed their opportunities with both hands.

Both debutants Krunal Pandya and Prasidh Krishna entered the record books. While Pandya smashed the fastest fifty by a debutant in ODI history, Krishna bagged the best bowling figures by an Indian on their ODI debut.

India and England will now lock horns in the second ODI at the same venue on Thursday.

Published 24 Mar 2021, 00:33 IST
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