Virat Kohli: 'Jadeja, Dhoni batted in perfect tempo'

India skipper Virat Kohli spoke about his team's exit from the World Cup in the semifinals, his own form in the knockouts and his batsmen's shot selection in the loss to New Zealand.

Virat Kohli reacts after being dismissed in the semifinal loss to New Zealand.   -  AP

India’s batting heart was flung aside in the first 10 overs as New Zealand speedsters Trent Boult and Matt Henry pegged away with wickets and maidens. Virat Kohli conceded that the phase when his team was reduced to five for three and then 24 for four, had repercussions that lasted through the World Cup semifinal which Kane Williamson’s men won at Old Trafford here on Wednesday.

“The game pretty much changed in those first 40 minutes and credit to the New Zealand bowlers, the pressure they created was immense and they bowled in the right areas,” the Indian captain said in the post-match press-conference. “You obviously feel bad about the result and everyone wants to win. In hindsight you can think differently. We are sad but we are not devastated. Today we were not good enough, a bad day at the knockouts and you are out of the tournament,” he added.

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Speaking about the dismissals, Kohli said: “Rohit (Sharma) got a really good ball, the ball I got was pretty decent. Yes in some cases shot-selection could have been better. For the first seven or eight overs we didn’t get a ball to drive, it was the perfect spell of fast bowling.”

Asked to comment on Rishabh Pant’s manner of exit through a shot that was struck straight to a fielder in the deep, Kohli became the protective senior: “Look Pant is an instinctive player and his partnership with (Hardik) Pandya was commendable. In hindsight he will learn, he is young. When I was young I made many mistakes. I am sure he will reflect on it and become stronger.”

Kohli was also satisfied with the run-rate that Ravindra Jadeja and M.S. Dhoni maintained through their partnership: “The way they batted together I felt it was the perfect tempo. MS (Dhoni) was given that role of coming in a bad situation and taking control.”

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Jadeja’s innings drew praise from his leader and Kohli said: “I have been watching him for 10 years and this was his best knock. At that point (in the slog) we felt that we could close the game. Jadeja has been an under-stated cricketer but he is priceless.”

Visibly disappointed, Kohli, though, drew some cheer from the ‘semifinal appearance’ and said that he “is proud of the way the team played through the tournament.”