Virat Kohli: ODI series loss to Oz motivated us to do well at The Oval

Updated: Jun 10, 2019, 09:00 IST | Harit N Joshi | London

Rohit Sharma 57, Shikhar Dhawan's 109-ball 117 and Kohli's 77-ball 82 resulted in India posting a mammoth 352-5 in their 50 overs, their highest ever World Cup total

India's Virat Kohli celebrates the team's win over Australia at The Oval in London yesterday. Pic/AFP
India's Virat Kohli celebrates the team's win over Australia at The Oval in London yesterday. Pic/AFP

India skipper Virat Kohli revealed here yesterday that his side were looking to take revenge over Australia after losing the ODI series at home in March.

India comprehensively beat five-time world champions Australia by 36 runs in their second World Cup match here at The Oval yesterday.

While India registered only their fifth World Cup win against Australia, it was the first time in 19 games that the Aussies lost while chasing.

"We were more motivated to do well in this match, especially after losing the series at home despite being 2-0 up. We wanted to set the tone… we built partnerships and we bowled really well. Winning the crucial moments is important against a team like Australia as they are a very good side. They look to be on top always," Kohli told reporters after the win.

After the win over South Africa in the first game, Kohli had said that the plan was to have one of the Top 3 batsmen go deep into the innings. However, it was there for all for to see when the Top 3 fires in unison.

Rohit Sharma 57, Shikhar Dhawan's 109-ball 117 and Kohli's 77-ball 82 resulted in India posting a mammoth 352-5 in their 50 overs – their highest ever World Cup total.

Promoted to No. 4, Hardik Pandya's 27-ball 48 and MS Dhoni's 27 off 14 balls made the difference eventually after Australia were dismissed for 316. Half-centuries from David Warner (56), Steven Smith (69) and Alex Carey's unbeaten 55 did not help to change Australia's fortunes.

Dhawan continued his innings despite getting hit on the thumb that ruled him out when it came to fielding. Kohli said it is difficult to stop Dhawan when in flow. "It is important to note that we have an opening pair of Rohit and Shikhar since 2013, which is very rare. They are world-class players. Rohit sometimes takes time to settle in, but if Shikhar gets a few boundaries up front, it is difficult to stop him in the flow. We are lucky to have such solid openers in our ranks," said Kohli.

Dhawan was his usual attacking best, pulling and cutting the Australians at will on a placid Oval pitch. Though Dhawan hit top form yesterday, it was Kohli's sweet timing that stole the show.

To provide an example of how good in form was Virat Kohli yesterday, sample this: In the 45th over of the Indian innings, the Indian skipper dispatched a 146kmph delivery from Mitchell Starc to long-on into the stands after the Australian pacer just erred in length. The sweet sound when the ball hit his willow did not require Kohli to even look at where the ball eventually landed. He knew where the ball would be.

Australia skipper Aaron Finch said not getting early breakthroughs hampered their chances. "Not getting wickets up the order did the damage. That helped India to shuffle their order, send Pandya at No. 4. A lot of options open up when you have wickets in hand," he said.

Despite the mammoth total, Australia was not a team to easily give up. They kept building partnerships and once skipper Finch was run out for 36, the Indian bowlers managed to get breakthroughs at the right time. Carey's knock did cause some concern in the Indian camp, but wickets tumbling at the other end made it difficult for Australia to get going.

Finch felt Indian bowlers, particularly Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who took three wickets each, were spot on. "India bowled really well with the new ball. We lost wickets in trying to up the run rate. We were in a decent position but lost wickets at key moments," he said.

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