Pune: India’s new One-Day International (ODI) captain Virat Kohli said it was important to let the opposition know his team was not down and out despite tottering at 63-4 chasing a stiff 351 for victory in the first rubber against England here on Sunday.
Kohli led from the front with a typical 122 off 105 balls with Kedar Jadhav stepping up too, scoring 120 off just 76 deliveries as India crossed the line by three wickets.
“We couldn’t win with those singles. We needed to tell the opposition that we believe we can win,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“The wicket was very placid so it was just a case of the bowlers trying their best. We bowled really well in the initial phases, but in the end they countered us really well.”
This turned out to be fourth highest successful run chases of all time. “This is going to take a while to sink in,” Kohli, who notched up his 27th ODI hundred and 17th in a run chase, said.
He also heaped praises on Kedar, who scored his second ODI ton.
“We needed a special partnership to get us over the line chasing 350 after being 63-4 with four quicks in the opposition,” he said.
“What an innings from Kedar. We have seen his potential in the New Zealand series and today it was never going to be easy batting at No.6 and some of the shots he played I watched in awe,” Kohli said lavishing praise on the home boy who stitched a 200-run partnership for the fifth wicket with his captain.
Jadhav credited Kohli for being an inspiration at the other end.
“It’s a great feeling that I could win a game for my country in front of my home crowd and my family.
“I could play this long because of my captain. He has done it so many times for the country and I had missed too many chances so many times. So today was the chance to get runs and watch Virat from other end,” Jadhav, who fought cramps to hit his highest score, said.
England captain Eoin Morgan admitted they wanted to bowl first in order to gauge the conditions adding even 350 was never going to be a safe score.
“That’s why we wanted to bowl first. Small ground, conditions are pretty tough for the bowlers. You think you are in the game, especially having them 60 for 4. It is tough to take, but credit to them. They didn’t give us any chances. We didn’t play at our best today. Even 350 was not enough,” he said.
“We think we were in the game for most of it. So all is not lost. We were at a tricky period between overs 35 and 45 where we were looking to get momentum into the business end. Credit to India for taking Jos (Buttler)’s wicket. We would have liked to kickstart that charge earlier.”