India’s all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja lauded Virat Kohli after the latter’s sensational unbeaten knock of 101 runs against South Africa in the ongoing World Cup 2023 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Sunday. India posted a par score of 326 runs and Kohli played a key role in taking the team past the 300-run mark.
Jadeja said Virat deserves all credit as batting in afternoon was very difficult with conditions favoring South African spinners. Keshav Maharaj was continuously troubling Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer but he didn’t get the support from the other end from Tabraiz Shamsi.
Kohli scored his 49th ODI century and matched Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of ODI hundreds. The talisman added 134 runs with Shreyas Iyer, who also showed all the patience to score a crucial knock of 77 runs.
“I think this will be very special for Virat himself. It was a very tough pitch and at times, it seemed that even 260-270 looked par,” Jadeja said at a post-match conference.
“He rotated the strike and at stage when runs dried up and their spinners were bowling well, to rotate the strike and remain not out while taking score beyond 300, it takes effort,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jadeja reckons the pitch was easier to bat in the second innings but South Africa could not show any fight as they were bundled out for only 83 runs. The all-rounder returned with impressive figures of 5-33 as he was the chief destroyer of the South African innings. Jadeja also added the finishing touches, scoring a quickfire 15-ball 29 to propel India past 320.
“When they bowled, there was more help from the track, there was more turn on offer and the wicket didn’t have bounce either. If you ask for my opinion, the pitch became easier for batting in the evening compared to the afternoon, may be not easy but okay for batting.
“But in the afternoon, it was a slow turner. You couldn’t hit big shots. Credit how Virat handled their spinners. We always had an idea that Kolkata is a low bounce track that aids spinners. We knew wicket would play slow.” Rohit’s decision to bat first was a calculated one as Indian team wanted to assess how things may pan out if India play their semi-final in Kolkata and need to bowl under lights.
“We wanted to challenge ourselves, had we bowled at afternoon, we wouldn’t have given so many runs. We wanted to see how we could bowl if dew sets in and if knock-outs, if we get such a situation,” Jadeja said.
India will next take on the Netherlands at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on Sunday.