India vs Afghanistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli says hard-fought win in Southampton was important for team

India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday said the hard-fought win over Afghanistan in the Word Cup was much-needed as it helped the two-time champions to show their character and clinch a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Press Trust of India, Jun 23, 2019 07:40:55 IST

Southampton: India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday said the hard-fought win over Afghanistan in the Word Cup was much-needed as it helped the two-time champions to show their character and clinch a victory from the jaws of defeat.

India vs Afghanistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli says hard-fought win in Southampton was important for team

India captain Virat Kohli said the hard-fought win over Afghanistan was much-needed. AP

Mohammed Shami's last-over hattrick Saturday saved India from a mighty scare after they managed to pip Afghanistan by 11 runs to inch closer towards World Cup semi-finals.

Shami (9.5-1-40-4), playing his first match, not only successfully defended 16 runs off the last over but also dismissed the dangerous Mohammed Nabi (52 off 55 balls), Aftab Alam (0) and Mujeeb ur Rahman (0) off successive deliveries to complete the rare feat.

Afghanistan were bowled out for 213 in pursuit of a manageable 225 run target which at one stage looked gettable after the Indian middle-order flopped in their first World Cup test.

"This game was way more important for us, because things didn't go as planned. That's when you need to show character and bounce back," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Drafted into the playing eleven in place of injured Bhuvneswar Kumar, Shami on Saturday became only the second Indian cricket to register a hattrick in World Cup after Chetan Sharma, who achieved the feat in 1987.

Kohli, thus, was effusive in his praise for the speedster.

"Everyone's waiting for an opportunity. Shami was really good today. He was making the ball move more than anybody. We knew these guys were hungry," he said.

Rating the win over Afghanistan as a special one, the India captain said the wicket was a difficult one for stroke-making because of its two-paced nature.

"This is right up there (as a win). You win the toss, and you decide to bat and then you see the wicket slow down. You think 260 or 270 would be a good total," he said.

"At the halfway stage, we had our doubts in our minds, but we also had self-belief in the change rooms. As soon as I went in, I understood the pace of the pitch. Cross-batted shots aren't on, and a lot of horizontal bat shots cost us on this pitch."

Kohli also praised man-of-the-match Jasprit Bumrah for his impressive bowling display that brought India back into the contest.

"It's simple - we want to use him (Bumrah) smartly. When he takes one or two wickets, he can go on, but otherwise we try to ensure the opposition knows that he has seven or so overs to go," he said.

Man-of-the-match Bumrah (2/39) said Kohli's belief in his ability spurs him to do do better every time he runs into bowl.

"That gives you a lot of confidence when the captain has so much trust in you. Helps me keep a clearer head," he said.

Bumrah also elaborated on India's strategy while defending the low total.

"We saw the wicket getting slower and slower. You had to be accurate and it's a big ground, so you had go for the yorkers and bowl wicket-to-wicket.

"What we wanted to do was that when you run behind wickets, you don't get wickets. Our plan was to get the run-rate high and create chances," he said.

Bumrah too praised his pace bowling colleague Shami for his impressive display on his maiden outing in the ongoing World Cup.

"That's very good, because it gives us healthy competition within the side. We discuss what the plans are, and it's great when everybody is chipping in with wickets," he said.

Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib showered praise on his bowling unit but said Bumrah eventually made the difference.

"We bowled really well, and everybody in the batting lineup was strong. We did well in the batting too, but credit goes to Bumrah for the way he bowled in the last three overs. He was superb," he said.

"The wicket was really good for batting during the first half. The spinners stuck to the plan, and they did really well. We had other options than Rashid (Khan) and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman), but in the backend, Aftab (Alam) and I also bowled well, but India is a good side, and a favourite side."

He, however, said such tough games against strong teams like India will do a world of good for Afghanistan.

"The total was not that much (to chase) but in the middle, we needed some 80s and 100s, 20s and 30s aren't enough against a team like this. When chasing 220s, you need some batsmen to take responsibility and go longer.

"We have lost four games very badly, but last two games we have played really well. This is tough cricket against high-ranking teams, and you have to fight your best," Naib said.

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Updated Date: Jun 23, 2019 07:40:55 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254