‘You need that push chasing 200+’: Virat Kohli hails Auckland crowd support after India beat New Zealand in 1st T20I
India captain Virat Kohli hailed the crowd support at Eden Park, Auckland after India started off their New Zealand tour with a resounding six-wicket win against the hosts in the first T20I on Friday. New Zealand put on 203 for 5 after Virat Kohli decided to field first. And in reply, India knocked the target off in 19 overs and with 6 wickets in the bank to go 1-0 up in the five-match series.
This was India’s fourth 200+ ruin chase in T20Is – the most by any team followed by Australia, who have two such chases. “Landing two days before and playing a game like this, it was fantastic. Felt like 80% support was for us and the crowd was right behind us. You need that sort of push chasing 200+,” said Virat Kohli at the post-match presentation.
India’s chase was set up by KL Rahul, who scored 56 off 27 balls. Rahul’s 99-run stand with captain Virat Kohli, who was dismissed for 45 off 32, laid a strong platform for India’s middle order to come and play their shots during the chase.
After Rahul and Kohli’s dismissal, it was Shreyas Iyer who displayed maturity and a range of strokes to close off the game. Iyer hit 2 sixes and boundary off Tim Southee in the penultimate over of the match. Iyer remained unbeaten on 58 off 29 deliveries and Manish Pandey played a good supporting role with 14 off 12 deliveries.
KL Rahul and captain Virat Kohli put on 99 runs in 50 deliveries for the tourists, who only arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday after completing a 2-1 one-day series victory over Australia on Sunday.
The India captain, who had said the scheduling of the tours must be looked at in future, on Friday said they had no intentions of making any excuses. “We never spoke of the jetlag in the team. We didn’t want any excuse. We just focused on what we needed to do to win. We were looking forward to play. We have done well in T20Is in the last one year,” added Kohli.
Kohli also hailed the bowlers’ contribution for pulling things back in the middle and towards the end. “You can’t be harsh on anyone on this sort of a pitch. I thought 230 was on at one point, but we pulled it back nicely,” said Kohli.
Asked about the areas India need improvement for the 2nd T20I at the same venue on Sunday, Kohli said the fielding is one area that still needs a some work especially in New Zealand grounds where learning the angles quickly is a challenge.