Legendary Sunil Gavaskar showered praise on the Indian team after they bested New Zealand by four wickets at the Himachal Pradesh Association Stadium, Dharamshala on Sunday. While chasing 274, India found themselves in a spot of bother at 191-5 with the last recognized batting pair of Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja at the crease.
In the absence of Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur, India had a long tail but Kohli and Jadeja were able to see their team through as they added 78 runs. Kohli continued his rich vein of form as he scored another match-winning knock of 95 runs in the run-chase whereas Jadeja remained unbeaten on 39 to get his team over the line. Both the batters made the most of their experience and they were able to handle a tricky situation.
The Little Master reckons such a knock will boost Kohli’s confidence for even bigger matches in the knockout stages.
“This was a very important situation from which to come through. And Kohli ensured that calmness which is tremendous, which gives you confidence if a similar situation occurs with a more demanding asking rate, as he will still be able to deliver,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
“At 200, with 60-70 runs still needed, it was a bit difficult. But you know, the temperament of Virat Kohli, chase master, was there. But for Jadeja to come in and the way he played was really heartening for all the Indians,” he added.
Meanwhile, this was India’s first win against New Zealand in a major ICC event after 2003.
Earlier in the match, Mohammed Shami returned with impressive figures of 5-54 in his quota of 10 overs. Thus, Shami played a key role in skittling out the Kiwis at 273 after Rohit Sharma decided to field first.
Shami was awarded Player of the Match for his fine bowling show. India will next take on reigning champions England at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow on Sunday.