How 'responsible' Kohli inspired India to Zimbabwe series win!
Virat Kohli has taken over captaincy of the Indian cricket team like fish take to water. Well, it’s not the first time that the Delhi lad has proved an inspiration to his teammates. He captained the Under-19 World Cup-winning team in 2008.
The fiery batsman once again proved his leadership skills as he crafted an unbeaten half-century to spur India to a seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Sunday. The victory gave the World champions an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match one-day series.
"With our early breakthroughs with the ball and consistent bowling throughout the innings, we did not let them get away with anything," Kohli said.
"I didn't think we had to seal the series today; we just had to play good cricket. If we execute properly, we are going to end up on the winning side more often than not,” he added.
Image: Virat Kohli
'I am more concerned about putting the team in a good position to win the game'
Kohli, who scored 115 in the first One-dayer, was never in trouble as he compiled 68 from 88 balls and led India past the victory target of 184, with 87 balls to spare.
Batting at number three, he was involved in successive 50-run partnerships with Ambati Rayudu (33) and Suresh Raina (28 not out) that ended Zimbabwe's hopes of defending the modest 183 they posted in their innings.
"I have been hitting the ball sweetly for the last couple of months. It's all about taking responsibility. I am not worried about how much I score; I am more concerned about if I have put the team in a good position to win the game," he said.
Image: Virat Kohli
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
'Four-star' performance by Mishra
India won the toss and elected to field, hoping to get the most out of the early-morning moisture in the wicket.
Zimbabwe were soon in trouble, losing two wickets with as many runs on the board, but a third wicket stand of 65 between Hamilton Masakadza (38) and Brendan Taylor (23) got them out of the early doldrums.
They lost wickets at regular intervals after that, though, with only Sean Williams (45) putting together an innings of any substance before he was needlessly run-out.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra was again the pick of the Indian bowlers, bagging four wickets for 47 in his 10 overs, and taking his tally for the series to nine, at an average of 15.
Image: Amit Mishra
Photographs: Harry Engels/Getty Images
'Our batting is getting quite frustrating now'
The tourists never looked troubled in their chase, though debutant Michael Chinouya removed Rohit Sharma (14) early on.
That brought Kohli to the crease and his steady innings, which included five fours and a six, drained the hopes of the home side.
"Our batting is getting quite frustrating now. Leading up to the series, with the amount of work we put in, we are not seeing the results," Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor said.
"It is starting to be a little bit irritating. Guys need to have a look in the mirror and toughen up a bit.
"We have lost the series but there are still two more games in Bulawayo and we have to keep our heads up."
The fourth ODI will be played on Thursday, and the final match of the series on Saturday.
Image: Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor
Photographs: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images