Champions Trophy 2017 | Kohli attributes the semi-final win to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah's bowling

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Champions Trophy 2017 | Kohli attributes the semi-final win to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah's bowling

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SportsCafe Desk

06/16/2017

Indian skipper Virat Kohli attributed the semi-final victory over Bangladesh to the outstanding bowling performances by pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah who staged a stalwart comeback after an expensive initial period. Kohli also complemented the Indian openers for their fiery start.

India cruised into the final of the Champions Trophy after chasing down 265 without breaking a sweat courtesy blistering knocks from Rohit Sharma(123*) and Kohli(96*) in the 41st over with nine wickets in hand. Earlier in the match, a supreme bowling performance spearheaded by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah with figures of 2/53 and 2/39 respectively, restricted the Bangladesh side to a modest total of 264 on the batting-friendly pitch at Edgbaston.

"Well, outstanding," said Kohli about the performances of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. "Especially the last two games they've been terrific initially and in the later stages, as well, their wicket-taking ability, which is something the opposition always knows, so they're always careful going hard against these two guys, and yeah, their length after the Sri Lanka game, the length and line has been impeccable, so consistent, bowling close to the batsmen, always there with an opportunity to get a wicket, as I mentioned. Even in conditions which are not offering too much, [they're] bowling such lines that we can produce wicket-taking opportunities.

"Big credit to both of them for getting us where we stand right now. A lot of credit goes to both of them, as well, for having bowled the way they have in the last two games." Kohli said in the post-match press conference.

The Indian skipper showered his praises on the duo of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan who continued their exploits in the tournament and yet again provided India with a strong start by weaving an 87-run partnership at the helm of the innings.

"But today, again, the way Rohit and Shikhar batted, it just gave me so much confidence heading into the changing room. These guys just went out and especially Shikhar, the way he took off was outstanding. Those two guys really dent the opposition mentally and you can come in and play your shots, and once you get going, the wicket was obviously really nice to bat on, as well. I don't want to take all the credit. It was a beautiful wicket to bat on, and the outfield was quick, so I think it was great conditions to bat today, and as batsmen, you do want to capitalise." Kohli stated.

The 28-year old himself looked in great touch and dominated the Bangladeshi bowling from the outset of his innings. Kohli scored an unbeaten 96 off just 78 deliveries which included 13 boundaries that also resulted in the Delhi batsman becoming the fastest player in the history to score 8000-runs in ODIs with just 175 innings.

"Well, it's not been difficult at all. I'm really enjoying the way I'm batting. For me, the number of runs do not matter at this stage. I'm really enjoying the process, and something which is, you know, giving me joy is that whatever I'm practising and how I prepared after the IPL is paying off in this tournament. So I'm pretty happy getting the team across the line, honestly. Doesn't matter if it's three wickets or two or even one. I want to apply myself in any situation possible. Last game was a bit more challenging in terms of chasing a low total and we lost one early wicket so I had to apply differently," said Kohli.

Following the victory, India set up an epic blockbuster final against Pakistan at the Oval on Sunday who look to be in great touch after thrashing hosts England in the semi-finals. Kohli complemented the Pakistan team for their commendable improvement in the tournament after being thrashed at the hands of India in the opening game.

"Yeah, very impressed. The turnaround has been magnificent. Obviously if you reach the finals you have to play some good cricket, and credit to them, they've turned around things for themselves really well. They've beaten sides that looked really strong against them, but the belief just showed on the field the way they played together as a team, and you know, regardless of who you play in the finals, it's always going to be challenging because once you start thinking that it's a big game, then your mindset changes.

"We've seen some really surprising results, and it's been amazing for the fans to watch and for the players to be a part of, as well. We just want to enjoy the finals and we deserve to be there. We played some really good cricket. We're not going to take anything for granted for sure. It doesn't matter whether we win by nine wickets, we win by one wicket. We're just going to go there and try to do the same things again and again. [We've to keep] bowling as a team, and hopefully the results will come," he said while signing off.

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