PUNE: After registering a 66-run win in the first ODI of the three-match series against England here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, India skipper Virat Kohli on Tuesday said that this is the sweetest victory his side has tasted for a very long time.
Jonny Bairstow might have played a 94-run knock, but India bowlers came back strongly to hand hosts a 66-run victory in the first ODI. With this win, India went 1-0 up in the three-match series. Both teams will now lock horns in the second ODI on Friday.
For the hosts, Prasidh Krishna returned with four wickets. England was 135/0 at one stage, but Indian bowlers made a stunning comeback to bundle out England for 251 inside 43 overs.
“This is one of our sweetest wins in the recent past. This one is right up there with any other. Getting nine wickets so quickly is outstanding. To come back into the game the way they did is brilliant. I’m a really, really proud man right now. The team showed great character and intensity. As I mentioned in the past as well, we promote players who have intent,” Kohli told host broadcaster Star Sports at the post-match presentation.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan (98) and Virat Kohli (56) might have set the platform at the top, but it was KL Rahul (62*) and Krunal Pandya’s (58*) blitz in the end that propelled India’s score to 317/5. The duo added 111 of their 112 runs in the last nine overs as they sent the English bowlers on a leather hunt.
“Special mention to Shikhar’s innings as well. KL as well, back among the runs. Want to back the people who we know will go out and do a selfless job. For every spot, we have two-three players available. Great signs for Indian cricket. Right now we are on the right path and have a big pool of players to choose from. Shikhar’s body language was amazing when he wasn’t playing. He was so helpful for us. Today he deserved the result,” said Kohli.
Further talking about India’s batting, Kohli said: “He (Dhawan) batted in the toughest phase today and got 95 which is more valuable than what the scoreboard shows. The ploy was that when we got to 100-partnership, I told Shikhar I’ll take the bowling on. Few wickets pushed us back a little bit. It’s a fair assessment (that we were below par). Under lights as well, the ball was coming on nicely.