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Rediff.com  » Cricket » With momentum on their side, India want to make every match count

With momentum on their side, India want to make every match count

February 19, 2018 10:20 IST

At the post-match presentation ceremony on Sunday, Virat Kohli revealed he is injury free after having left the field for a while during South Africa's innings

IMAGE: At the post-match presentation ceremony on Sunday, Virat Kohli revealed he is injury free after having left the field for a while during South Africa's innings. Photograph: BCCI

Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar took career-best figures of 5-24 to help India ease to a 28-run victory over South Africa in the opening Twenty20 International of their three-game series at the Wanderers on Sunday.

 

Sent in to bat, India plundered 203 for five from their 20 overs on a flat batting wicket as opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a superb 72 from 39 balls.

It was India's highest innings total against South Africa in the shortest format of the game, with debutant seamer Junior Dala (2-47 in four overs) the most successful bowler for the hosts.

Captain Virat Kohli allayed his own injury fears and then termed India's 28-run win over South Africa in the first T20 International "one of our most balanced performances" in recent times.

When South Africa were batting, Kohli left the field for a brief while after getting injured.

"The injury was early on in the innings. It was in the glutes while taking a single. Thankfully it wasn't a hamstring. So I went off before I would tear a muscle," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

It was a complete team effort and Kohli acknowledged it.

"It was a really good wicket to bat on. Rohit and Shikhar were outstanding at the top. It was a total team batting performance and in the end Bhuvi showing his experience -- all in all it was a good team effort.

"We were looking to do this in T20s for a long. It was one of our most balanced performances."

Suresh Raina takes the catch to dismiss Heinrich Klasse 

IMAGE: Suresh Raina takes the catch to dismiss Heinrich Klassen. Photograph: BCCI

South Africa were in the game until Kumar's final over when he picked up the key wicket of Reeza Hendricks (70 from 50 balls), and then dismissed Heinrich Klaasen (16) and Chris Morris (0) in successive balls, before Dane Paterson (1) was the fourth wicket to fall as he was run out.

The home side ended their innings on 175 for nine, continuing their struggles against the tourists in the limited overs matches on the tour having been thrashed 5-1 in the one-day international series.

"With the ball, Bhuvi was showing his experience. We never let the run rate drop less than 10.5. I was thinking maybe 220 at the 16-over mark. The basic message to the team was we are here till 25th. We can't go away before that and have to make the best of every time here."

The skipper further said, "We wanted to make the most of the time we have left here. It's an opportunity to play for your country every time and we have fresh faces who are looking for those opportunities at all times so there's a new motivation every time."

Man of the Match Bhuvneshwar, who returned figures of 5/24, said he aimed at bowling at the right areas.

"I just wanted to bowl in the good areas and it's a result of that. Seeing how they were bowling and how the wicket was, we planned our bowling and it worked for us.

"I enjoy bowling in the tough situations (at the start and end of the innings). The knuckle ball (with the seam up) is something I've been working on for almost a year. Nowadays you need to figure out new ways to get wickets."

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