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Virat Kohli on how India achieved the impossible at Hobart

Last updated on: February 29, 2012 09:07 IST

'We took it as two T20 games'

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Virat Kohli, who smashed an unbeaten 133 to guide India to a morale-boosting victory over Sri Lanka in a crunch tri-series outing in Hobart on Tuesday, said the team took the match as playing two Twenty20 games and was confident of winning it in 40 overs.

India needed to overhaul the target of 320 in 40 overs to get a bonus point and stay afloat in the tournament, which they did eventually in 36.4 overs and seven wickets remaining.

- Scorecard

"We looked to get one boundary in an over, keep playing an over at a time; and if you need 100 runs from the last 10 overs, it was very gettable. So we took it as two Twenty20 games," said Kohli, whose 86-ball knock saw India beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets and also earn a bonus point.

"Initially, we had the plan to play 10 overs of powerplay. Then, the next five we would consolidate and run hard between the wickets and then take the batting powerplay, assuming they would take 15-20 overs as bowling powerplay," he told reporters at the post-match press conference.

"But that didn't happen; they didn't take bowling powerplay. The message came from the dressing room 'you don't need to take batting powerplay. Just keep playing and keep wickets in hand'," he said.


Image: Virat Kohli celebrates after hitting the winning runs during the tri-series ODI between India and Sri Lanka at Bellerive Oval on Tuesday
Photographs: Getty Images

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'I told Gautam I can feel I am pretty set'

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Kohli described his whirlwind knock as the best innings of his international career.

"It has to be the best ODI hundred. Not probably the way I batted, but given the kind of game we were playing," he said.

"I told Gautam I can feel I am pretty set. I am confident and I can go for it. I would keep one end positive so we don't lose too many wickets. It's all about communication.

"One guy needs to keep it solid and the other needs to keep rotating the strike," he said.


Image: Kohli gets a pat from Suresh Raina after completing a hundred
Photographs: Getty Images
Tags: ODI , Kohli

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'I knew I had to stick in'

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The 23-year-old right-hand batsman said he was told by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni not to throw his wicket and try to negotiate the difficult period of his innings.

"In the last game, MS (Dhoni) told me it's probably three occasions when you have been hitting the ball beautifully and you have got out on 20; you are hitting ball well, you need to stick it out on those tough periods. I kept that in mind.

"I knew even if I was to get 30 runs... all edges, might be all singles to third man, I might be driving and edging it every time, I have to stick in, I don't have to throw it away," said Kohli.



Image: Virat Kohli during the course of his match-winning knock
Photographs: Getty Images

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'To hold yourself mentally is the biggest challenge'

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Kohli admitted he did not think a lot about this game, as he was feeling mentally tired and sad.

"To be honest, it's mentally very tiring. If you are winning, you can stay for five months. When you are not doing well, it's difficult to hold yourself mentally. Physically, it's not that difficult because you have breaks. But to hold yourself mentally is the biggest challenge for a cricketer.

"I wouldn't say I wasn't feeling mentally tired and mentally sad sometimes. But there is no running away from it. Sometimes, if you are not playing well, if you are committing same mistake, you tend to go into a shell, which is really difficult to come out. You need to take that extra like we did today to come out of that shell. I am feeling less tired now," he said.


Image: Kohli celebrates after his hundred
Photographs: Getty Images
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'This was one game for us, we had to give it our all'

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Asked what he did to come out of the shell, Kohli replied: "I did nothing. I didn't talk to anyone about cricket.

"I got a call from home, someone wanted to discuss cricket, I hung up in 10 seconds. I was like, please don't talk about cricket, please don't tell me you have to do it in the last game because we were not even thinking about it.

"We were trying to be as relaxed as possible. To be honest, we didn't have anything to lose; this was one game for us, we had to give it our all. We wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.

"I think it's going to lift the spirit of the team; the mood in the dressing room is amazing right now."


Image: Gautam Gambhir is run-out
Photographs: Getty Images
Tags: Kohli

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'We are going to think each game as last for us'

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Kohli said the team will now try to be as expressive in the finals, if they make it, as they were on Tuesday.

"We are going to think each game as last for us. Every game is a do or die for us.

"We are going to be expressive I can assure you. We are not going to think twice or hesitate. If we reach the finals, we are going to play like today.

"If this was our last match, it's important for India, after the kind of season we had, to have a win like this, especially in Australia. I hope we make the finals, if not we take lot of positives, just to reflect what kind of cricketers we are and what kind of cricket we can play," he said.


Image: The Indian team celebrates the fall of a Sri Lankan wicket
Photographs: Getty Images

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'I knew he would go for yorkers'

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Kohli's handling of Lasith Malinga was vital to India's chances and he seems to do it regularly against the 'yorker man' from Sri Lanka.

"He's very difficult to get away; once you get on top of it, you make sure it stays that way. They persisted with him even when he gave 24 runs because they knew he could get them wickets. I was hitting the ball well, he was bringing it in; it's my natural shot.

"I probably got the balls in the right areas. If you start executing the shots, it's not easy for bowlers to get yorkers right. I knew he would go for yorkers because because he needs wickets. If he doesn't execute them, then I have the upper hand. So I had that in my mind, butI stayed very calm at that stage.

"My natural movement is back and across. I don't need to go too deep into the crease. I am anyway back on my crease on these sort of quick wickets. You need your backfoot play, to rock back on backfoot as soon as possible. I had that in mind all this tour of Australia, so my initial movement," he said.


Image: Lasith Malinga
Photographs: Getty Images

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'I haven't watched my batting'

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Kohli said he wasn't sure if he would watch his innings, which included desperate dives, giving him painful bruises.

"It shows how badly I didn't want to throw it away. Two times I felt like someone had pushed me. You have only one game left to play, so there's nothing you can be casual or lazy.

"You need to give it all. I haven't watched my batting. If it is coming on TV I would watch. If everyone is watching, I would watch. I would go with the flow," he said.


Image: Virat Kohli
Photographs: Getty Images
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