Indian captain Virat Kohli lauded Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah’s stellar contributions in his side’s six-wicket victory over South Africa, terming it a ‘professional win’ in Southampton.
Playing their first game of the 2019 World Cup, India restricted the Proteas to 227-9, before finishing off the chase in 47.3 overs, primarily on the back of Rohit’s 23rd ODI century, his second in World Cup matches.
“The wait was very long, and then you get a game like this. Was challenging throughout. Was important to start on the right note, have a win that was complete,” Kohli said after the match. “If you look at how the game went and pitch behaved, it was challenging. Hats off to Rohit, very professional win.”
WHAT A START FROM JASPRIT BUMRAH! 👏
Here is the first wicket of the day when he dismissed Hashim Amla.https://t.co/RDlXGEFzro
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 5, 2019
Earlier, Jasprit Bumrah troubled the South African batsmen with pace and accuracy, capturing the prized scalps of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock within the first six overs to leave them at 24-2. They slid further down to 135-6, as Yuzvendra Chahal yanked the heart out of the middle-order with a four-wicket haul.
“Jasprit [Bumrah] is operating at a different level, batsmen are always feeling the pressure. Was absolutely outstanding to get Amla out like that in ODIs, even Quinny [de Kock]. Chahal too was outstanding, “ Kohli added.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis rued the absence of a substantial batting contribution from his side, with Chris Morris, at No. 8, top-scoring with 43.
“Ours is a change room that is hurting, trying to make sure we keep fighting but we’re making mistakes all the time. Today someone had to bat through, we didn’t do that. To have so many 30s and 40s is not acceptable,” du Plessis said.
“Their [India’s] bowling was magnificent, they’ve got good fast bowlers and spinners. We did well to pull it back with the bat before their spinners ran through our middle order. Rohit had a bit of luck, but he did what we didn’t do – get a hundred and win the game. It was a really good pitch, a lot of runs scored.”
Du Plessis admitted that injuries to Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn forced his side to go with an additional spinner in Tabraiz Shamsi. He reserved special praise for Kagiso Rabada, who picked up Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, initially maintaining pressure from one end, and finishing with 2-39 from his quota of 10.
“With all our fast-bowling resources gone, we picked an extra spinner, it meant we needed a score to bring them into play. Had we had Steyn and Ngidi, it may have made sense to bowl first. Rabada is a champion, but was extremely unlucky – haven’t seen so many balls land short.
“But that’s how the game goes when you aren’t playing your best cricket, these 50-50 things don’t go your way. Morris too was superb, bowled well and scored some crucial runs with the bat.”
Player of the Match Rohit Sharma, now third on the list of most ODI century-makers for India, admitted that he had to be watchful initially and cut down on his favoured strokes during his 122-run knock.“Different experience from playing in India for sure. [There] was something in it for the bowlers through the game, couldn’t play my natural game. Had to take my time to play shots, had to cut down certain shots I love to play. Wanted to leave a lot of balls initially, was trying to stick to the basics and build partnerships even though it was a small total,” he said.
“All the batsmen in the team have a job. We can’t rely on one or two individuals. That’s been the hallmark of this team. We’ve done that well; this is a big tournament and at some stage, someone else will put their hand up and do the job for us”
“I had fun, wasn’t a typical Rohit Sharma innings, had to play out the overs to ensure I get the job done.”