Virat Kohli won’t rest on past laurels going into ICC Champions Trophy semis
Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan shared a 128-run stand as India beat South Africa by eight wickets at ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Earlier, Indian bowlers restricted South Africa to 191 in a must-win ICC Champions Trophy 2017 match.icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 12, 2017 10:40 IST
India’s loss to Sri Lanka last week in ICC Champions Trophy 2017 had put the bowlers under scanner. They allowed their weak opponents chase down 321 and invited plenty of criticism. (IND vs SA: ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2017 - HIGHLIGHTS)
Smarting under that criticism, the India skipper on Sunday chose to field and trusted his strong batting line-up to do the chasing. (IND vs SA: ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2017 - SCORECARD)
However, this time his bowlers and fielders were up to the mark and didn’t give the batsmen much to sweat over. (India vs South Africa, ICC Champions Trophy 2017, match video highlights)
“It was a good toss to win, the wicket didn’t change too much. The fielders backed our bowlers. If the opportunity comes your way, you have to grab it,” said Kohli after the match.
The Proteas had got off to a solid start. However, two run outs in the middle overs, including that of AB de Villiers, saw them lose track.
Kohli said De Villiers wicket early gave India a lot of confidence.
“Always good to get him (AB de Villiers) out early, he can always hurt you. We wanted to step up that intensity,” he said.
While the Proteas lost track and struggled to score, the Indians seemed to reach the target in a canter. Kohli said there were no demons in the wicket and it was a good batting surface.
“(But it was) Important for someone to bat till the end and Shikhar’s intent was outstanding. This is probably the best game we have played so far,” he said.
India will now face Bangladesh in the semifinals in what will be a repeat of the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal. They play at Edgbaston in Birmingham where Kohli’s boys beat Pakistan in the first match of the tournament.
“We played in Birmingham, we like that pitch. It suits our game.”
Although India were comprehensive in the win over Pakistan, Kohli said they have to be cautious. “There is no looking back and there is always room for improvement. There are always small points you can improve on, can’t rest on your laurels.”
The South Africa skipper, De Villiers, laid the blame on his team wilting under pressure which led to a lot of soft dismissals. “Not an ideal way to finish. Credit to them in those first 15-20 overs, put the pressure on us, we normally don’t bat that way. We never got going. It is very sad obviously. We were hoping to play a better game of cricket. There were a lot of soft dismissals.”