After making it to semis, Kohli hails Indian bowlers

Virat Kohli hailed India’s focused bowling and fielding displays as his side thrashed South Africa to book a spot in the semifinals of the Champions Trophy.

Virat Kohli led from the front as India got the better of South Africa in London on Monday.   -  AFP

Virat Kohli hailed India’s focused bowling and fielding displays as his side thrashed South Africa to book a spot in the semifinals of the Champions Trophy.

“The pressure was built by the bowlers and that resulted in those breakthroughs that we got on the field,” he said.

“This was something that we required, this kind of a fielding performance. And before going out, we had a chat in the huddle that I wanted to see everyone’s intensity go up. And then the bowlers were on the money and that actually helps the fielders get into better positions and attack the batsmen when they know the bowler is hitting the right spot regularly.”

He had had some hard words for the team after the loss to Sri Lanka, Kohli revealed.

“You have to be honest. You have to sometimes say things that hurt. That's what I believe in. You have to lay it out in front of them that this is what we—myself included—did wrong and we need to take it on the chin and accept it and prove it. You can't do the same mistakes over and over again. I can't pinpoint any negatives from today, honestly. I would say it's probably our most complete game yet.”

The two run-outs, of A.B. de Villiers and David Miller, were the decisive point in the game, Kohli felt. “Before AB got run-out, he and Faf were doing really well, rotating the strike well. And Miller is a dangerous player as well. They can drag the team up to 260, 270 from any sort of situations. Those two run-outs were the turning point today.”

AB de Villiers was disappointed with the manner of the defeat, and blamed the ‘soft’ run-outs for the loss of momentum. The South African captain was at a loss to explain his nation's repeated failure in ICC tournaments. “We've covered all the bases. We've had camp after camp. And we've worked really, really hard in the nets, and we trust each other, and for some reason, things like that just keep happening,” he said.

“It wasn't a knockout game today. It was still part of our pool games, so that’s the one area that's a bit different, but it was still a must-win game.”

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