Virat Kohli: ‘Fantastic’ win sets up the whole tour for us

“Landing two days before and playing a game like this, it was fantastic,” Kohli says after India’s five-wicket win over New Zealand in the first T20I.

Setting the tone: Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer celebrate after India’s win.   -  AP

India’s six-wicket win in the first T20I over New Zealand here was just the kind of start it was looking for, captain Virat Kohli has said.

India had to shed its jet lag to compete in the contest, after having arrived in New Zealand only a couple of days ago. Despite this, its batsmen put on a solid performance, chasing down the target of 204 with an over to spare. India is now 1-0 up in the five-match series.

Kohli had spoken about the tight scheduling in the pre-match press conference but there was no such talk within the team. “We enjoyed this. Landing two days before and playing a game like this, it was fantastic... This sets up for the whole tour for us. Felt like 80 percent support was for us and the crowd was right behind us. You need that sort of push chasing 200-plus. We never spoke of the jet lag in the team. We didn’t want any excuse,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation.


“We had a really good series against Australia and we took that confidence in here. You can’t be harsh on anyone on this kind of pitch. I think we did well in the middle overs, to restrict them under 210 was a good effort. I think fielding is one thing that we can improve on, just getting used to the ground dimensions and the ball snaking a bit,” said Kohli, referring to the longer side boundaries and short straight boundaries at the peculiarly shaped Eden Park.

Shreyas Iyer (58 not out off 29) finished the game for India after K. L. Rahul (56 off 27) and Kohli (45 off 32) provided the foundation.

‘Hard to defend’

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson admitted defending 203 was tough at this venue. “We know coming to Eden Park it’s hard to defend and there was a bit of dew and obviously India showed their class. We knew batting first we had to get a good total on the board. Being a second-used surface, it was a high-scoring game. But with ball in hand, if we could get three or four early, we could have got ahead of the game,” he said.

Williamson himself blazed away to a 26-ball 51.“Taking pace off seemed to be working okay, but it was tough to execute because India put us under pressure constantly. But we do need to find ways to pick up some wickets. It was nice to build some partnerships. Guys came in and played their roles really well. It’s important we improve in all areas in the next game,” Williamson said.

The second T20I will be played at the same venue on Sunday.

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