T20 World Cup | We have played good cricket despite tournament exit, says Virat Kohli as flawed campaign ends for India
India defeated Namibia by nine wickets on Monday in Dubai|
| Courtesy - Twitter
After India registered a nine-wicket wicket victory in their final fixture at the Super 12 stage against Namibia on Monday in Dubai, Virat Kohli stated that despite the tournament exit, his team have played quality cricket at the marquee event. He further thanked the outgoing India coaching staff.
After winning the toss, India opted to bowl first, and Jasprit Bumrah started off well for his side as he scalped the wicket Michael van Lingen (14) in the fifth over of the match. Craig Williams (0), who walked out to bat at No.3, could not contribute a single run to the Scotland batting innings and fell to Ravindra Jadeja in the sixth over. The Indian spinners restricted the run flow and scalped wickets at regular intervals to trouble the Gerhard Erasmus-led side. Bumrah scalped two wickets by conceding just 19 runs off his four overs, while Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja clinched three wickets each to restrict Namibia to 132/8.
In reply to Namibia's 132, openers Rohit Sharma (56) and KL Rahul partnered for an 86-run stand, and placed India in a dominating position before the former departed in the 10th over. Rahul scored an unbeaten 54 off 36 balls, and stitched up a 50-run stand along with Suryakumar Yadav (25*) to guide India to their third successive victory at the Super 12 stage. Notably, Rohit Sharma became the third cricketer to score 3000 runs in men's T20I cricket. Despite three straight wins at the group stage, India are knocked out of the tournament as they are placed third on the points table behind Pakistan and New Zealand.
Reflecting on India's T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, Virat Kohli stated that despite two successive defeats at the Super 12 stage, the team made a strong comeback in the tournament. He further added that it has been a honour to lead Team India in the shortest format.
"Relief firstly (on leaving T20I captaincy). It's been a honor but things need to be kept at the right perspective. I felt this was the right time to manage my workload. It's been six or seven years of heavy workload and there is a lot of pressure. The guys have been fantastic, I know we haven't got the results here but we have played some really good cricket. The guys have really made my work easier. The way we played the last three games, it's a game of margins - T20 cricket these days. Two overs of attacking cricket at the top is what we were missing in the first two games. As I said, we weren't brave enough in those games and in the group we were in, it was tough," said Kohli after the match.
Kohli thanked the outgoing coach staff, and reckoned that the Ravi Shastri-led team created a wonderful environment for the players in the team. Kohli further added that he would like to contribute more to Indian cricket as a player in the upcoming years.
"A big thank you to all those guys (Ravi Shastri and his support staff). They have done a great job over the years, creating such a wonderful environment for the players. People loved to get back to the atmosphere. They have done a really great job. That (his aggression) is never going to change. The day it does, I'll stop playing cricket. Even before I became captain, I have always loved to contribute in some way or the other. Surya didn't get much gametime in this World Cup, so I thought it will be a nice memory to take back. That was the idea (behind not batting himself," he added.
Ravindra Jadeja, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his stellar performance with the ball, stated that he enjoyed bowling against Scotland batsmen in Dubai. Reflecting on Virat Kohli's stint as India T20I captain, Jadeja stated the outgoing captain has been a great leader in white-ball cricket.
"As a bowler, I did enjoy bowling today. The ball was dry so I enjoyed bowling with a dry ball. Some balls were turning, some were going straight, so that's also a trick, the batsman has to keep on guessing. (on Ashwin) I'm enjoying bowling with him, I've been playing with him since 10 years. He's doing wonderfully with the white ball, did it in IPL also. Virat has been wonderful with the captaincy, and I've played with him for 10-12 years too. I always enjoyed his captaincy. He's positive and aggressive that's what you want as a player. (On the departing support staff) They have done a great job as supporting staff for 7-8 years and we've enjoyed being with them," said Jadeja after the match.
Incidentally, Virat Kohli played his 50th match as India's T20I captain, and he led the Men in Blue to victory in 29 games, with 16 ending in a defeat.