Indian skipper Virat Kohli advised the Indian team to not take things lightly ahead of their semi-final clash against Bangladesh on June 15th at Birmingham. However, the Delhi batsman was delighted with India's win against South Africa and termed it their best performance in the tournament so far.
India demolished South Africa in a do or die encounter on Sunday at the Oval to keep their hopes of a successful title defence alive, thereby earning a berth in the semi-finals of the tournament. India won the toss and decided to bowl first successfully dismissing the Proteas to a paltry total of 191 in 44.3 overs. The Indian batsmen then complemented the team's bowling beautifully as they chased down the target with eight wickets and 12 overs to spare to complete an all-around victory.
India will now face Bangladesh in the semi-final of the tournament at Birmingham on June 15th and Kohli suggested that the players could always improve despite the convincing win, and should not let their guards down against their semi-final opponents.
"We played in Birmingham, we like that pitch, suits our game. No looking back. Always room for improvement, always small points you can improve on, can't rest on your laurels." he said in the post-match conference.
However, the Indian skipper did not hesitate in lavishing praise on his team for their clinical performance against South Africa. "This is probably our best game we played so far... the most complete performance," Kohli said
Kohli won the toss for the first time in the tournament and elected to field first before his bowlers vindicated his decision. "It was a good toss to win, the wicket didn't change too much. A decent wicket to bat on. The fielders backed our bowlers," he added.
The Indian batting fired courtesy of Shikhar Dhawan's consistency as he scored his third consecutive half-century of the tournament and gave India the start they needed. Kohli then followed it up with an unbeaten 76 to take his team home. And the 28-year old hailed the opener's contribution saying, "It's important for someone to bat till the end, but Shikhar's intent was outstanding."
On the other hand, AB de Villiers became the first victim of India's supreme fielding performance when the South African skipper had to depart for 12 just as he was beginning to look dangerous. And Kohli commented on the run-out stating,"The opportunity comes your way, you have to grab it. It's always good to get him out early, he can always hurt you. We wanted to step up that intensity."
Finally, Jasprit Bumrah's exceptional bowling figures of 2/28 from his 8 overs earned him the man of the match award and the 23-year old credited his success to following the basics on the dry Oval pitch. "It was an important game for us. We wanted to be calm and execute our plans," Bumrah stated in the post-match presentation
"I'm happy with any role given to me. As long as you're contributing, it's good. The ball doesn't swing too much, so stick to the basics, bowl a hard length and don't give room. A good toss to win, chasing has been relatively easier." he added.
Ravi Rampaul or Shane Shillingford? Who will take more wickets?
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