India skipper Virat Kohli lauded the displays of Rohit Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav following his side’s 89-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan in their 2019 ICC World Cup clash at Manchester.
Rohit’s second century of the tournament and Kuldeep’s dismissals of the well-set Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman paved the way for a huge victory for the Men in Blue which took their World Cup record against Pakistan to seven wins out of seven.
“Kuldeep Yadav was brilliant,” Kohli said after India’s win on Sunday.
“Babar and Fakhar were trying to play him out, but I wanted him to have a longer spell. The ball to dismiss Babar was an outstanding delivery.
“I think today was the best he bowled at this World Cup.”
It was Rohit who got things going for India after they lost the toss with the opener smashing a 113-ball 140 to set up a daunting total of 336-5. The India deputy skipper forged a 136-run stand with fellow opener KL Rahul who chipped in with a vital 57.
Crediting the openers’ display, Kohli said: “Rohit’s knock was outstanding again. KL helped Rohit, who showed why he’s such a good ODI player again today. It was a team effort to get to 336.”
The win over the arch-rivals did come at a cost to India with seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar breaking down just three overs into his spell on Sunday. The 29-year-old did not return to bowl for the remainder of the innings and Kohli is expecting him to miss the next couple of matches.
“Slight niggle for Bhuvi, he slipped on one of the footmarks. He’s out for two, maybe three games, but he should come back for us at some stage during this tournament,” said the India skipper.
Kohli’s Pakistan counterpart Sarfraz Ahmed lamented his bowlers’ failure to bowl in the right areas after he won the toss and elected to field first on an overcast day.
“We won a good toss but didn’t bowl in the right areas, and Rohit played very well,” he said.
“Our plan was to pitch the ball up to Rohit, but we didn’t execute it well. It was a good toss to win but we didn’t capitalise on it.
“We also lost the match in those three overs where we lost four wickets. Fakhar and Imam were going really well, but we collapsed after that.”
The loss leaves Pakistan with just three points from five games with their semi-final hopes taking a big beating.
“Definitely, it’s getting tougher and now we have to win all remaining games,” Sarfraz admitted.
Rohit Sharma was adjudged the man-of-the-match for his 140-run knock and the opener acknowledged Rahul’s effort at the other end in setting up a solid base for India.
“Rahul played very well, took some time early on, probably what was required. Can’t play shots straightaway. The idea was to see what is happening. We got a good start and built on from there,” he said.
The right-hander was looking on course for a fourth ODI double ton at one stage but perished while attempting to scoop a Hasan Ali delivery over short fine leg. It was a dismissal that left the India batsman frustrated with himself.
“I was unhappy, particularly the way I played that shot,” Rohit rued.
“He (Hasan Ali) just pushed mid-on back and brought fine leg in, which was a little misjudgment from my side.
“When you’re set you want to get as many runs as possible. Trust me, I wasn’t thinking of a double hundred. The partnership (with Kohli) was becoming solid and we wanted to kill the game.”
It was India’s third win in the four matches in the 2019 World Cup and it propelled them to third spot in the table behind Australia and New Zealand. Kohli and his men now have a five-day rest period before they take on Afghanistan at Southampton on June 22.
Pakistan, meanwhile, are now only above Afghanistan in the 10-team standings and will next take on South Africa at the Oval on June 23.
Know more about Sport360 Application