Kohli: ‘We were 20-30 runs short’

The Indian captain praised Tom Latham for his match-winning knock that helped New Zealand trump India in the first ODI.

Tom Latham raises his bat after scoring his century on Sunday.   -  AP

Virat Kohli praised Tom Latham for his match-winning century that took New Zealand to a seven-wicket victory at the Wankhede Stadium, and admitted India was at least ‘20-30 runs’ short of a fighting total.

The 31st century of Kohli’s career, arriving in his 200th ODI on Sunday, was overshadowed as New Zealand chased down a target of 281 in 49 overs. Latham scored an unbeaten 103 and Ross Taylor contributed 95.

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"We thought 275 (280) was a good total. But Ross and Tom were fantastic. They did not give us any chances, apart from a run-out here or there. And when you get a 200-run partnership, you deserve to win," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Better batting needed

The Indian captain believed the pitch played well in the second half and dew became an impediment to his bowlers. "Putting dew into perspective, in the last 13-14 overs, we were 20-30 runs short. But in the first half of the day the wicket was playing very differently. We would have liked a better batting performance. If a couple more guys had chipped in, batting a few more overs, we could have had 40 runs extra," said Kohli.

Kohli also complimented the Kiwi batsmen for tackling Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal well. "New Zealand tackled our spinners really well, handled the fast bowlers too. Credit to Tom and Ross - Tom especially - as Ross has been around for a while. [Latham has] not played as many international games but he played superbly. Trent (Boult) as well, with the ball."

Asked why he didn't use Kedar Jadhav, who has been a handy part-timer, Kohli said the pitch had enough on offer for the two specialist spinners. "There was enough turn on offer in the pitch to trust the frontline spinners. Maybe if the chase had gone away from us earlier, or if the lower order was in, we might have used Kedar. Hardik did well for us as well, so we didn't feel the need to bring Kedar in."

‘Brilliant’

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson termed the chase as one of the greatest that he has been a part of. "It was a brilliant performance. It was one of the greatest chases I have seen, certainly in my time as a Black Cap," Williamson said. "Tom and Ross controlled the innings perfectly through the middle overs. You know over here that you take the game deep. It was something we wanted to do. Even with a few more batsmen left, they had to finish it off."

Williamson conceded that the weather was challenging. "The weather was very challenging. We have been here [for] two weeks, you can't really get used to it, but we got on with it."

Man of the Match Latham said although he could play sweeps and reverse sweeps, he hadn’t had the requisite confidence earlier. "[The sweep is] something I had been working on, just didn't have the confidence to play the reverse sweep so early in the game. The biggest thing in a partnership is communication, we were talking after every over, hats off to Ross for playing such a great innings. He was a calming influence on me."