India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday dubbed India’s first ever win over New Zealand in T20 International as clinical. Kohli further added that he was very pleased with the team’s all-round performance. India outclassed the Kane Williamson-led side in the first T20 match to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Talking about Ashish Nehra’s retirement, Kohli said that he knows how hard Nehra has worked and he deserved this kind of farewell with the crowd cheering him.
Recalling the photo in which Nehra was giving an award to a young Kohli long time back, the Indian captain said, “That was back in 2003 after he had come back from the World Cup. I was 13 then and struggling for a place in the school team.
“To have played 19 years is very hard for a fast bowler. I know how professional he’s been and how hard he’s worked. He deserved this kind of a farewell with the crowd cheering him. He can now spend time with his family, he’s got a beautiful family. We’ll stay in touch but we’ll miss him and I wish him all the best.”
Talking about his team’s performance, Kohli said, “Very clinical performance with the whole team. I thought the wicket was damp but Rohit (Sharma) and Shikhar (Dhawan) were outstanding. And with the ball as well, we were brilliant. The bowlers bowled where they should and the fielders backed it up.”
Kohli did not fail to appreciate Hardik Pandya’s catch to dismiss Martin Guptill and said that the catch was one of the best he has seen.
Kohli was happy that Dhawan was able to show his T20 prowess with a range of shots in his 52-ball 80 which was laced with 10 fours and two sixes.
“Shikhar’s one-day game is so good and he always wanted to convert that into T20 as well. I think his adaptability was spot-on today and he unleashed all the shots he had,” said Kohli.
Asked about the composition of the playing eleven, Kohli said, “In T20 cricket, you need to keep picking wickets to win games and it’s always nice to have options. Using Hardik at 6 and Axar at 7 gave us those options. As a captain, you always need an extra option to pick wickets.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson termed his side’s performance as disappointing but said they would look to bounce back in the second match.
“It was a disappointing performance tonight. We were very poor on the field. India played superbly. There are no excuses. We needed to play better. India were outstanding and never gave us a sniff. Our spinners bowled really well but the bowlers around them went for a lot of runs,” he said.
“I want to congratulate Ashish on a fantastic career. I have played against him and with him, always a gentleman on and off the field.”
Man-of-the-match Shikhar Dhawan said he needed this kind of performance as he has not done that well in this shortest format.
“I was very happy with the way I batted. It was needed because I hadn’t really performed in T20 internationals,” he said.
“It wasn’t an easy wicket. Rohit started slowly, so I took over and did the scoring. I feel like I can play anywhere on the ground. I’ve got all the shots.
“All three formats are very important for me. I love all three formats and I love this game. I’ve got the belief that I can perform in all three formats and I make sure my processes and fitness are in place so I can compete with 25-year olds.”