Indian skipper Virat Kohli, on the back of India’s win in the first ODI, described himself as a proud captain and asserted that the win today was one of India’s sweetest ODI victories in recent times. After looking certain to get thrashed, India pulled off a remarkable comeback to win by 66 runs.
India broke the chain of losing the first match of the series on Tuesday, as the Men in Blue beat England by 66 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match ODI series. However, the win was anything but regulation for the hosts. After India posted 317/5 batting first, England, powered by a thumping 135-run opening stand from Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, looked certain to not just get home, but do so with at least 10 overs to spare. However, in what was one of the most astonishing collapses in recent times, the visitors lost 10 wickets for just 116 runs to collapse and plummet to a 66-run defeat.
It was a hard-earned win for India, who piggybacked on the character shown by the bowlers, and so speaking in the post-match presentation, skipper Virat Kohli expressed pride, and described the win as ‘one of the sweetest in recent times'.
“This is one of our sweetest wins in the recent past. This one is right up there with any other,” Kohli said in the presentation.
“Getting nine wickets so quickly is outstanding. To come back into the game the way they did is brilliant. I'm a really, really proud man right now. Team showed great character and intensity.”
In many ways, today was a day of ‘comebacks’. Shikhar Dhawan, who was benched for 4 of the 5 T20Is, played a match-winning 98, while KL Rahul, who, like Dhawan, was dropped in the T20I series, surged back to form with a fine 43-ball 62. Krunal Pandya scored a fifty on debut, but it was also a comeback of sorts for the all-rounder, as his last international appearance for India came no less than 18 months ago. Kohli said that the team will continue to back selfless players who have the intent and attitude to succeed.
“As I mentioned in the past as well, we promote players who have intent. Special mention to Shikhar's innings as well. KL as well, back among the runs. Want to back the people who we know will go out and do a selfless job.
“For every spot, we have two-three players available. Great signs for Indian cricket. Right now we are on the right path and have a big pool of players to choose from.”
Dhawan missed out on a century by two runs, but the milestone counted for little as the veteran’s contribution eventually played a huge part in the hosts registering a convincing win in the first ODI. With youngsters knocking on the door incessantly, it was an important innings for Dhawan, who has already lost his place in the T20I setup. Kohli said that he had nothing but respect for the 35-year-old, who, according to him, has been a top-class professional despite not getting as much game time as he would have desired.
“A special mention to Shikhar again. His body language was amazing when he wasn't playing. He was motivating players, running with extra stuff like water. Today he deservedly got the result he achieved. Made a very important contribution. You saw it was tricky first up and the openers had to start off that way. In that context, his innings was very important since he batted the tough overs. His contribution was better than what the scorecard was.”