Kolkata: The defending champions were left shocked and stunned by, ‘underdogs’ Sri Lanka at the Oval after the men from the island nation put up a fantastic batting performance to pull off a huge upset.
India, who were looking for a win to secure a semifinal spot were completely taken aback after Sri Lanka, from nowhere came out with a lovely batting performance and defeated Virat Kohli and co by seven wickets to open up the competition in this group.
Virat Kohli, after the match admitted that Sri Lanka’s batting took the game away from them. “I personally thought we had enough runs on the board. Our bowlers also bowled decently. If batsmen come out and everyone plays like that, then you have to give credit to the opposition as well,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference.
He also saidl that all the champion sides are playing in this tournament and on any given day, anyone can beat the other.
“We are not invincibles. We are playing against oppositions who are also champion sides. They are among the top eight teams in the world. There are no guarantees that someone can’t beat the other” added Virat.
Sri Lanka not only beat India but did so convincingly as they reached the target with eight balls to spare. Virat Kohli also added that it is was the fearless cricket played by Sri Lanka that won them the game.
“When you lose games, you always find negatives. But if a side comes out and plays fearless cricket like this and executes their plans and shots so well, you have to take your hat sometime and say ‘Very well played’,” said Kohli.
Put into bat, the Indian openers once again did a good job as they registered a 134 run partnership which laid a strong foundation for the remainder of the willow wielders to come and score some runs freely. Shikhar Dhawan, notched up his first century in this edition of the tournament as we made a well composed 125 but the heroes from the last game against Pakistan- Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh, both of them were dismissed quite cheaply which caused a sort of a setback for the team which was looking to put up a big score on the board.
They finally did so as they ended up at 321/6 with former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blasted 63 of just 52 balls and Kedar Jadhav played a cameo of 25 from 13 deliveries.
Speaking on the batting, he said, “I thought we had enough runs midway. But the good thing they did was they did not lose wickets and they kept rotating strike which we as a team have done so many times.”
“Everyone of their team came out and played positive cricket. When we got two run-outs we thought we can get a couple more but those guys came and played their shots and it came off well” added Kohli.
But he called for his team to push more harder to score at least 20 extra runs, which would act as a cushion in games like these.
“I think we have to push harder now in the next few games to give us a 20-run cushion may be after seeing a result like this because we are playing on the same ground” Virat said.
All four teams in Group B have now two points each and the last two matches (India vs South Africa and Pakistan vs Sri Lanka) have virtually become quarter-finals now as the winners would go on to enter the semis.
Virat Kohli and his men next face South Africa at the Oval on Sunday.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)