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Finally! Kohli's India show they can defend big totals

Last updated on: December 12, 2019 14:09 IST

'So, at times we have tried to over achieve and when you are batting first and setting a target that often happens, not just in T20 cricket but in any format. So, it's a good learning for us and each game we play in we get an opportunity to bat first we learn something new and today was a good confidence booster for all of us and hopefully we can continue to do that more often'

India captain Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 70 off just 29 balls to help India post a massive total

IMAGE: India captain Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 70 off just 29 balls to help India post a massive total in the 3rd and final T20I against the Windies at the Wankhede in Mumbai on Wednesday. Photograph: BCCI

India captain Virat Kohli said the best aspect of the series-clinching win over West Indies in the third and final T20 International in Mumbai was that his team finally managed to post a big score while batting first.

While India have been good at chasing for a while now, they have been making a conscious effort to amass big totals batting first ahead of the T20 World Cup next year.

Kohli led from the front smashing an unbeaten 70 off 29 balls as India beat West Indies by 67 runs in the third T20 at the Wankhede on Wednesday.

 

"We had spoken a lot (big first innings score). It was about going out on the field and executing. I had the opportunity to do something different, which I don't usually do. I told KL to stay on till the end, and said I'll try and smash a few," said Kohli at the post-match presentation.

"I know that I can contribute in all formats, it's about putting your mind to it. My role becomes crucial, because I have to play two roles. I'm trying to be able to play like this as well," he added.

India opener Rahul feels the series-sealing win over West Indies was a good learning experience in setting-up big totals, something his team has not been able to do consistently.  

Rahul was expectedly asked about India's inability to post big scores on a regular basis.

"I don't know really the exact answer to that, but we are looking to work on first innings if whenever we have to bat (and) start the innings. At times, we have tried to get…we start off thinking we want more than 200 or that's T20 cricket nowadays, no total is enough, you always feel like you are 10-15 runs short," he said.

"So, at times we have tried to over achieve and when you are batting first and setting a target that often happens, not just in T20 cricket but in any format. So, it's a good learning for us and each game we play in we get an opportunity to bat first we learn something new and today was a good confidence booster for all of us and hopefully we can continue to do that more often."

Rahul also admitted that while batting first there was lot of pressure and the team had faltered in the past. Rahul was asked about the series deciding match against South Africa in Bengaluru where the visitors comfortably chased the target. 

"(There were) Similar scenarios, (but the) wicket was a bit different. Bengaluru had lot more to offer, when you lose couple of wickets early or then the pressure is always on the team batting first and like we have often tried to get bigger total and we have failed to achieve, that happens with every team when you are trying to set a target.

"No total is good enough nowadays and you want to give that extra 20-25 runs to the bowlers and with the dew coming in, so there is lot of pressure batting first and there is lot of responsibility and at times we have failed and that okay, we can accept it and we learn," he said.

West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard termed his Indian 'world-class batsman' and the Men in Blue completely deserved to win the series.

"He came out, we bowled few deliveries in his slot and he put them away. He (Kohli) is a class batsman and he is going to put away the bad deliveries. Again, as I said, it is about execution, if we would have executed our plans, we would not be having these discussions. He is a world-class cricketer. You need to be on point with such class players. They played well and they deserved to win the series," Pollard told reporters.

Pollard kept the Windies in with a chance of winning the match as he played a knock of 68 runs. During his innings, he also managed to bring up 1000 runs in the shortest format of the game.

But his dismissal in the 15th over of the innings brought curtains to the Windies hopes and the side did not manage to recover from the setback.

"It is what it is. They scored 240, we did not execute our plans properly, if we would have got a couple of wickets, we would have been in the game. Chasing the target was not impossible, but yes it was a steep task. We faltered at the end, but I think as a batting unit we were consistent in the series and it is a step in the right direction," Pollard said.

Despite the series loss, Pollard said that the entire side showed great determination to give the hosts a fight in the shortest format of the game.

"The guys stood up for themselves in the series and it was very good to see. I have tried to learn every time I have stepped on the field. We will have days just like the one we had today, but it is always about how we bounce back. Some of these guys are young in international cricket, so we need to shelter them," Pollard said.

"There are a lot of positives for us from this series. We brought this T20I series to the final game, not many of you would have thought about it before the start of the first match," he added.

Both West Indies and India will next lock horns with each other in the three-match ODI series starting Sunday, December 15.

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