PORT OF SPAIN (West Indies): As a century partnership for the opening wicket between Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan drove India to an astounding win over West Indies in the second ODI at the Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday, skipper Virat Kohli showered praise on the former, citing he gives Team India the leverage of adding an extra bowler in the side.
“Rahane has been a part of the ODI set-up for a while and we all felt he had a great potential at the top of the order. He is always there as the third opening batsman. In this series, I think he has started taking a lot less pressure on himself and has begun enjoying his game more,” Kohli said.
“There are very few people who can perform two roles for the team. He can open and he can play in the middle-order. So, I see him providing more balance to us as a side, like we can take an extra bowling option when he is there,” he added.
Lauding Kuldeep Yadav whose bowling spells ensured West Indies don’t go beyond their score of 205/6, Kohli said, “I have faced him in the IPL. He’s quite amazing with what he does with the bowl and especially on dry wickets like it was today, he becomes even more lethal. Credit to him for putting up such a performance.”
Kohli further credited the determination of his team to have quite convincingly defeated West Indies on their home turf.
“For us as a team, it’s about doing the things right that we can do right, execute our skills to the best of our potential and regardless of how the opposition reacts, we want to do our things right, stay committed on the field be it batting, bowling or fielding,” he said.
With a massive 310 for five on the scorecard, India won by a margin of 105 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. The 105-run margin gave the visitors their biggest win in the Caribbean.
The first match on Friday was abandoned due to rain.
The second ODI was also affected due to heavy rains and the match was reduced to 43 overs a side.
Dhawan and Rahane notched 114 for the first wicket in 18.2 overs, following the 132 they put on during the first match.
Rahane completed his third ODI century in the 34th over though he was dismissed soon after.
Kuldeep Yadav took three wickets, Bhuvneshwar Kumar two and R Ashwin one and the WI team score was relegated to 205/6 making India by a record margin.
Rahane was announced to be the Man of the Match for his brilliant knock of 103 off 104 balls.
Kohli, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Anil Kumble’s exit from the post of the Indian cricket team’s head coach, added one more feather to his cap as he has become the second most followed Indian on Facebook with over 35 million followers to his name.
Kohli is now just behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has 42.2 million Facebook followers.