Indian captain Virat Kohli has been left ruing a disastrous 40 minutes which saw his side sensationally dumped out of the Cricket World Cup by a brilliant Black Caps bowling display.
Chasing 240 for a spot in the World Cup final, India’s lauded top order collapsed in remarkable fashion, first falling to 5-3, then slumping further to 24-4 after 10 overs.
Kohli – who made just one from six balls, as part of India’s crumble – was left stunned, having gone into the change of innings extremely confident that India would be playing in the final at Lord’s on Sunday.
“Chasing 240, we were very comfortable.
“We were confident that we can get the score,” Kohli said.
“I think the game pretty much changed in those first 40 minutes when we were batting.
“When you lose [three wickets for five runs] it is very difficult to come back into the game.
“That first spell made all the difference.”
Kohli didn’t want to blame his batsmen for the shocking start – noting that he and quintuple Cup centurion Rohit Sharma had both received good deliveries, and praising the Black Caps’ new ball pairing of Trent Boult and Matt Henry for producing a “perfect” start.
“New Zealand deserve a lot of credit because they put up a great display how to bowl with the new ball.
“They had perfect line and lengths and forced us to make errors, or bowled good deliveries to us so the pressure created was immense in those first 40 minutes.
“They did not provide any opportunities for us, for the first seven or eight overs we didn’t get a ball to drive. So that shows the kind of control they bowled with – they put the fielders in the right positions and that was a perfect spell of fast bowling with the new ball, which put us under a lot of pressure.”
Kohli also explained how New Zealand’s aggressive fielding strategies made things even more difficult for his side to get on top, especially after they had lost early wickets.
“If there is a low total, we knew there’s probably only one or two sides in world cricket that will put seven fielders in the ring and one was always going to be New Zealand.
“We knew they were going to attack more and not let the game go to the end, they won’t take it deep, they will go all out and play the game that way because I have seen them play that way.
“Today also third man was up in the ring, and in a one-day game you had five catching fielders. So they know how to create pressure because they play very consistent cricket and today was an example of that.”
A record World Cup partnership for the seventh wicket between MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja kept India’s hopes alive, but some excellent death bowling from that same pairing that caused so many problems at the start – Boult and Henry – wrapped up the win for New Zealand.
After such an strong tournament up until today, it was a result that left Kohli heartbroken, but the skipper was also realistic that his side wasn’t good enough when they needed to be.
“We played outstanding cricket throughout this tournament, and to just go out on the basis of 45 minutes of bad cricket is saddening and it breaks your heart.
“We are not shying away from accepting that we didn’t stand up to the challenge and we were not good enough under pressure.
“We have to accept that – and accept the failure as it shows on the scoreboard.”