India’s gamble of playing a batsman less — by dropping KL Rahul — and including an extra bowler in T. Natarajan didn’t cost them at all as they managed to post a mammoth 224 for two wickets in 20 overs to out-bat England.
“The fact that Rishabh and Shreyas didn’t even come to bat and we still got to 224 is a testimony to the batting depth,” said skipper Virat Kohli after the 36-run win that gave India the series 3-2.
Kohli opened the innings with Rohit Sharma and the two put on 94 runs in nine overs. The India captain, who scored 80 off 52 deliveries and was declared the Man of the Series, said both he and Sharma went in with a positive intent.
“Today Rohit and me were both positive in our intent. We knew we could trust each other and one of us can play second fiddle if one takes off. Tonight it was classic Rohit Sharma. And then Surya coming in at three and taking the game even further away. Then Hardik finishing it,” said the 32-year-old batsman.
Kohli revealed that he would continue opening the batting both for India and for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the upcoming Indian Premier League.
“I am going to open in the IPL as well; have batted in different positions in the past. But I feel we have a solid middle order now. It is about the two best players getting maximum number of balls in T20 cricket. I’d like to partner Rohit at the top and the other guys feel confident when one of us is in. I’d like that to continue that,” said Kohli.
The India captain also praised individual players of his team.
“It [the arrival of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav] has pleased me as also how Shreyas has batted in the first game and the last game. Ishan [Kishan] was brilliant but I was particularly pleased with Surya. Hardik and Bhuvi came back well. Nattu [Natarajan] came back and bowled two crucial overs today. Pant has shown maturity to bat in difficult situations and it has been a series of plusses for us. The confidence levels of Thakur after the Test series is sky-high — even with the bat,” added Kohli.