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July 11, 2019

Dejected Kohli laments ‘45 minutes of bad cricket’

Sports

July 11, 2019

MANCHESTER: For the best part of the tournament, Virat Kohli looked like a man in command. But within a span for a mere 45 minutes everything changed for him and the Indian team.

New Zealand, a team which barely made it to the semi-finals, knocked the tournament favourites out with a memorable bowling performance while defending just 239.

“It always feels disappointing when you’ve played such good cricket and then 45 minutes of bad cricket puts you out of the tournament,” a visibly dejected Kohli said after his team’s shock 18-run defeat in the first World Cup semi-final against New Zealand here at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

“It’s difficult to accept, it’s difficult to come to terms with, but look, New Zealand deserve it because they put enough pressure on us and they were far sharper when it came to the crunch moments,” he said.

India had restricted New Zealand to 239 in the rain-hit game and were, according to the score predictor 98 percent favourites to win a place in Sunday’s final. “I think the first half, we were very, very good with the ball. In the field I think we were spot on,” he said.

“Absolutely what we needed to get, we got in the field and we thought we had restricted New Zealand to a total which was quite chaseable on any surface. But, the way they came out and bowled in that first half an hour really was the difference in the game.

“We knew that we had a good day yesterday and we were very proud of that effort. And then a very professional effort again with the ball this morning. So we felt like we had the momentum and we had the right mindset to go in, but the credit has to go to the New Zealand bowlers because with the new ball I think they were outstanding with the areas that they hit, and the kind of swing that they got on the surface, the help that they got from the surface. I think it’s the skill level that was on display for everyone and it made life very difficult for the batsmen.”

India were provided with a ray of hope by all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who hit a 59-ball 77 after the Indians were reduced to 24-4 in 10 overs.

Kohli was all praise for Jadeja. “I think Jaddu had an outstanding game, outstanding couple of games,” he said. “The way he played today was a great sign for his skillsets and what he can do for the team, and just going out with so much clarity and turning the whole game around in no time was outstanding to see. MS had a good partnership with him again and, you know, again it’s a game of margins, he got run out in the end, it could have been anyone’s game.”

Kohli rued the fact poor shot selection played a role in his team’s upset loss. “At times I think our shot selection could have been better, that’s probably the only thing I can think of,” Kohli said. “Otherwise, we played really good brand of cricket and we’re really proud of the way we competed in this tournament. You know, we played a good standard of cricket throughout. But as I said, come the knockouts, it’s anyone’s game and New Zealand showed more composure than us, and they were braver in those crunch situations so they deserve to go through to the finals.”

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