Virat Kohli believes seamer Jasprit Bumrah has India’s World Cup rivals “clueless” when it comes to playing him.
Bumrah terrorised South Africa in Southampton as the Proteas slipped to a third straight World Cup defeat, with India prevailing by six wickets.
India skipper Kohli hailed Bumrah for arriving in England knowing he is ready to dominate the World Cup, and admitted the Ahmedabad-born paceman has the game’s top batsmen bamboozled.
“He can nick you off on any wicket and he has that belief,” said Kohli. “He’s just going to bowl consistently and can still get you out.
“When you see batsmen clueless against him, and he’s actually rushing people. “To get guys out like that, just rushing them a bit, it’s a great thing and it’s a testament to his hard work.
“He understands that this is his time and he’s making the most of it. He’s going to be a massive factor for us here.”
Rohit Sharma racked up an unbeaten 122 as India coasted to their target, gearing up to face Australia at The Oval on Sunday with a comfortable victory. India launched their World Cup campaign in fine style, restricting South Africa to 227 for nine, with Bumrah to the fore and Yuzvendra Chahal bagging four for 51.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar grabbed a pair of wickets himself and Kuldeep Yadav also claimed a wicket as India fired a warning shot to opponents looking to hit big that they will take some subduing with the ball.
Kohli revealed Bumrah is even striking fear into his team-mates in the nets, but insisted India are relishing such a tough examination in training.
“Facing Jasprit, you have to play good cricketing shots against him and back your technique against him,” said Kohli. “If you’re hesitant, he’s all over you.
“If he senses you’re not enjoying the short ball, he makes sure you get it.
“He will bounce people, york people with the new ball. If you’re not on top of your game, it can be trouble. If you play well against him in the nets, you walk out with more confidence.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
It’s the opening week of the 2019 World Cup where hosts England are red-hot favourites. The last thing on anyone’s minds should be empty seats but that is exactly what has been witnessed even during marquee matches in the opening week.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan complained as much on BBC Radio, pointing to the number of empty seats during a top match like India v South Africa in Southampton on Wednesday, adding to the growing criticism of the tournament’s ticketing arrangements.
“Such a shame there are so many empty seats,” said Vaughan. “They keep saying it’s sold out but where are the tickets?”
AFP quoted Claire Furlong, ICC general manager of communications, as saying that long queues at food outlets and ‘other attractions’ at the venue were possible reasons for every seat not being taken.
“The match is a 17,200 sell-out. We haven’t had a turnstile count yet but all day there have been a couple of thousand milling around the concourses,” Furlong was quoted as saying.
Even Pakistan’s stunning win over England at Trent Bridge on Monday saw empty seats in the stands.
STAT OF THE DAY
78.1 – It was probably Rohit Sharma’s most determined innings in ODI cricket. The India opener used all his strength to survive a horrid opening spell from Kagiso Rabada. He survived and then flourished, finishing unbeaten on 122 to guide India to a six-wicket win.
He reached 100 of 128 balls – a strike rate of 78.1 – which was the slowest of his 23 ODI tons.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Before the game @harbhajan_singh made three predictions on @aajtak - 1) Bumrah will be most ferocious, 2) Kuldeep and Chahal will pick 4-5 wickets and 3) Rohit will get the runs! Some clairvoyance that #IndvsSA @cricketworldcup— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) June 5, 2019
Despite restricting South Africa to just 227-9, India were made to earn their win with the bat with victory coming only in the 48th over. It was Rohit Sharma who was the star with the bat for India in the tough run chase with the deputy skipper slamming an unbeaten 23rd ODI ton.
“It was important to start on the right note, have a win that was complete,” Kohli said after India’s win.
“If you look at how the game went and pitch behaved, it was challenging. Hats off to Rohit, very professional win.”
The India skipper was also delighted with the bowling displays of Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal who were both in fantastic form on Wednesday. Bumrah (2-35) was sensational with the new-ball and removed both openers in an inspired spell while Chahal (4-51) ran through the South Africa middle-order with his wrist-spin.
“Jasprit is operating at a different level, batsmen are always feeling pressure. Chahal too was outstanding,” said Kohli.
“We’re confident as a group, with the bat we had to be careful. That’s why I said Rohit’s innings was special. One of the top three getting a hundred is something we bank on” Kohli added.
Meanwhile, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis was left to rue a third straight defeat in the 2019 World Cup which has seen his team’s chances of making the semi-final in big jeopardy.
“Ours is a change room that is hurting, trying to make sure we keep fighting but we’re making mistakes all the time,” a dejected du Plessis said after the loss.
“Today someone had to bat through, we didn’t do that. To have so many 30s and 40s is not unacceptable.”
South Africa will now hope to get their campaign back on track when they take on West Indies at the same venue on Monday. India, meanwhile, will now travel to London with their next clash slated to take place against Australia at the Oval on Sunday.