Kohli admits India 'outplayed' after first-ever World Cup game defeat to Pakistan
- Pakistan defeated India by 10 wickets in T20 World Cup
- Rizwan and Babar chased down 152 in less than 18 overs
- Shaheen Afridi removed India’s top-order batsmen
Virat Kohli admitted that India were "outplayed" as they suffered a heavy 10-wicket loss to Pakistan in their Group 2 game of the Super 12s in the T20 World Cup on Sunday.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down a target of 152 in 17.5 overs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium to hand Pakistan their first-ever win over India in a World Cup fixture. Prior to Sunday's victory, India and Pakistan had faced off against each other five times in the T20 World Cup and the results had gone India's way on every occasion.
"We didn't execute properly. Credit where it's due and Pakistan outplayed us today. They started brilliantly with the ball, and 3 wickets for 20 runs was not a good start. We needed wickets early but with the bat they gave us absolutely no chances. It played slow in the first half and hitting through the line was not that easy as it was in the second half, after 10 overs," said Kohli at the post-match presentation after India's loss in Dubai.
All the three top-order batsmen – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Kohli – fell to Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi, who was the eventual Player of the Match for his spell of 3 for 31 in four overs.
"We needed those 15-20 extra runs and for that, we needed a good start but Pakistan's bowling didn't allow us to get those extra runs. We could make the argument of getting in another slower bowler, but it's important to stay composed and understand our strengths because with the dew the slower bowlers couldn't be effective either. This is just the first game of the tournament, not the last," added Kohli.
Despite a poor show with the bat, India managed to post 151 runs, courtesy of a superb half-century from the skipper. Kohli struck five fours and a six as he scored 57 off 49 balls. Rohit suffered a golden duck, while Rahul managed only 3 off 8 and Suryakumar Yadav contributed with 11 off 8. Coming in at No. 5, Rishabh Pant scored a vital 39 off 30 but threw away his wicket by playing a rash shot.
Meanwhile, even Babar Azam led from the front with the bat and unlike Kohli, his effort did not go in vain. The Pakistan captain scored an unbeaten 68 off 52 but the star of their innings was his batting partner Rizwan. The wicketkeeper-batsman smashed three sixes and six fours in his knock of 79 not out off 55 balls.
"This was the team's effort, and the early wickets were very helpful. It gave us a lot of confidence and our spinners were very good as well. We applied our plans and got the results. We, the openers, kept it simple and built a partnership and because the wicket was getting better so we just wanted to keep batting till the end, which we did," winning-skipper Babar Azam said after his team's excellent win in Dubai.
"It won't get easier just because we beat India. We will take the confidence, but we're taking it one match at a time, and there's a long way to go in the tournament. We prepared well, and just kept the history out of our mind. We needed quality practice, and warm-up matches, and even our domestic tournament and those games gave us a lot of confidence," he added.
Player of the Match Shaheen Afridi said Pakistan will look to carry the momentum ahead and aim to make it to the finals.
"It is the good wishes of my parents and all Pakistanis. Very happy with my performance. The plan was to bring the ball back in. I was just trying to swing it and I was just looking to give the team a breakthrough. That was what I practiced in the nets as well yesterday. Batting against the new ball was tough. The credit goes to Babar and Rizwan for the way they played. All teams are good in the tournament and we will look to carry this momentum through and go to the finals," Afridi said at the post-match presentation on Sunday.
Pakistan's next assignment in the T20 World Cup is their Super 12 clash with New Zealand in Sharjah on Tuesday (Oct. 26). India, on the other hand, have a week-long break before their next match, which is also against the BlackCaps on Sunday (Oct. 31) in Dubai.