Virat Kohli acknowledged the 27-ball 48 that Hardik Pandya bludgeoned and helped him continue at his own tempo for a fine 82 in India's 36-run victory over Australia in World Cup 2019 at The Oval on Sunday (June 9).
Virat's innings went at usual template of the Indian skipper, thanks to Hardik whose cameo was glint with four fours and three maximums.
"Okay, yeah, that thought (to start attacking) did come to my mind. After I crossed 50, I sort of spoke to Hardik and he said, I don’t necessarily need to take any chances," Kohli was quoted as saying by PTI.
Pandya told Virat to continue playing anchor and he'll be the one to go for it.
"Hardik said, the fact that you are at one end gives me more assurance to play my game. So, I had to take responsibility of holding it but still maintaining tempo, knocking the ball around."
"And then in the last five, six overs, I think I played about six balls. So, I would play one ball in three overs and that was also single immediately. As a batsman, you can’t really get rhythm after a while. These things happen in the one-day game."
The captain stressed he has absolutely no problem keeping the ego of a champion aside and play second fiddle to a rampaging partner.
"As long as guys like Hardik and MS (Dhoni) play like that, I have no problem in just doing my job and taking singles and being at one end. Sometimes, you will get an opportunity to strike as well, and this is what we discussed as a team," Kohli said.
"If some guys are hitting at a certain strike rate, you make sure that you play a second fiddle and control the game because if you lose wickets -- if we lost five wickets in that phase, you’re looking at 20 runs less maybe."
"The communication is very important, also. They understood that this is a phase where we could get those extra runs, and they just send Hardik, and I think that it was a very, very good plan."
The team management expected flexibility and situational awareness from all batsmen in order to pile up a huge score like 352/5 versus the Aussies.
"If I get out then MS will come in to control that one end, and if the other guy gets out, if Shikhar got out, then Hardik would have stepped in."
"Exactly that’s what happened, and the communication came from the management that said let’s send Hardik and try and capitalise on this because last time we played here against Sri Lanka we got 330 and we lost the game."
"Hardik said to me in the middle of the fact that I’m there at one end gave him the freedom to strike from ball one, and he wanted to strike at 200. That was his plan, and then MS came in and he did the same job beautifully," Kohli signed off.