VIRAT Kohli heaped praise on his fellow top-order batsmen after India began their ICC Champions Trophy defence with a 124-run thrashing of Pakistan at Edgbaston.
India’s top four all passed 50 as the reigning champions racked up 319-3 from 48 overs on Sunday, before Pakistan fell well short of a revised target of 289 in a game interrupted by three rain breaks.
An opening stand of 136 between Rohit Sharma (91) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) set the tone for a day of Indian dominance, while Kohli struck 81 not out from 68 balls and Yuvraj Singh upped the tempo impressively with a brutal 32-ball 53.
After hailing a “massive win” for his side, Kohli initially praised the contribution of Yuvraj, who struck eight fours and a six as he capitalised on being dropped early in his innings.(Omnisport)
“Yuvi came in and just took all the pressure off me,” said India’s skipper. “And the way he batted was the way only he can strike the ball, hitting low full tosses for fours and sixes, and even digging out yorkers for fours. It was outstanding.
“I think that really deflated the opposition and that gave me a bit of time to settle in from the other end. When he got out, I took over. But I think his innings was a difference in the game.”
Rohit and Dhawan also earned the approval of their captain, who added: “The opening partnership is something that’s very important in England, allowing the kind of middle order we have to come in and capitalise right from the beginning.
“I think the way Shikhar batted was really good to see. Rohit was taking a bit of time, understandably so, because he’s come back after so long to international cricket.
“[It was a] great thing that he took his time, played a long innings. Shikhar really batted well from the other end. So from that regard I think both of them starting well was the main factor for us last time [in the 2013 Champions Trophy], and this time as well the same thing has happened.” (Omisport)