Kohli dedicates fifty to Tendulkar

Kohli said that he relishes the challenge of getting his team out of trouble on a "challenging pitch". He scored a match-winning half-century and dedicated it to Sachin Tendulkar, who was at Eden Gardens to witness the game.

Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring his fifty.   -  K. R. Deepak

Virat Kohli dedicated his match-winning half-century against Pakistan tonight to his batting idol Sachin Tendulkar, who was at Eden Gardens to witness the game.

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“I started playing cricket watching him. So do it infront of 67,000 people with him celebrating, it was a great feeling.”

He said that he relishes the challenge of getting his team out of trouble on a "challenging pitch".

“It was a challenging wicket, that’s what you want as a cricketer — new challenges to play. Last game, I was very disappointed to have got out, that really hurt. Even the 49 against Pakistan in Dhaka was really satisfying, that’s what you need, a tough pitch, a good bowling attack and you pulling your team out of trouble,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Dhoni interaction with media
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He was all praise for Yuvraj Singh, with whom he put on a 61-run stand.

“Yuvraj weathered the storm and then smacked a few. That’s Yuvi’s style. I think these performances are good for him as well, he’s in good nick.”

Kohli admitted that he did not know that wicket would offer so much turn till Ashwin started bowling.

“I didn’t look at wicket till Ashwin started bowling. The way the ball spun, I thought it was going to grip. Even the ‘cutters’ bowled by fast bowlers was gripping. So I told our batting coach (Sanjay Bangar) that since the ball was popping up, I would stand inside the crease and open the bat face rather than hit cover drive,” said Kohli.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that he did expect turn but no so much of turn.

“Not like this (the turn). In the second half, it got slightly better, and they had only one spinner. Initially, when we saw the pitch, we did not think it would turn so much.

I think we can do better, there are areas we can improve, once we get into the knockouts you won’t get a second chance.”

Dhoni defended his decision of not playing an extra spinner. “If I knew from the start that it would turn so much, I have no problems playing another spinner.”

Dhoni was pragmatic about India's unbeaten record against Pakistan in world events.

"We are proud of the fact that we are 11-0 up now (in ICC tournaments with six wins in ODI WC and five in WT20) but we have to accept the reality that we will also lose one day. It may happen after 10 or 20 years but it cannot be that we keep winning all the time.

"It proves that our team has evolved well over time and have played good cricket. Just like it is building up a pressure of 11-0 loss on Pakistan, it is also increasing the pressure on us to keep pushing it ahead."

Shahid Afridi also spoke in the same vein about not expecting a pitch like this.

“I was not expecting a pitch like this, I think we were a bit short with the runs… 30 runs short. We didn’t bowl in the right areas, I did not bowl well. Virat Kohli batted really well.”

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