Team India made a big change in the batting order in the series-deciding fifth T20I against England as Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli walked out to the middle after England opted to bowl first.
The decision paid off as the veteran duo forged an opening stand worth 94 runs to lay the foundation of India’s gigantic total.
While Rohit slammed 34-ball 64, Kohli remained unbeaten on 80 off 52 deliveries as the hosts finished with 224/2 on the board.
After the game, skipper Kohli expressed desire to open alongside his deputy going into the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in India later this year.
“I am going to open in IPL as well. I have batted in different positions in the past. But I feel we have a solid middle order now. So, I will definitely like to partner Rohit at the top going into the T20 World Cup,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
“Two best batsmen in the team, one can play second fiddle if the other gets going. That can inflict a lot of damage to the opposition team. Other guys also feel a lot more confident when one of us is still in and is set.”
Suryakumar Yadav (32 off 17 balls) and Hardik Pandya (39* off 17 balls) also made notable contributions with the bat in India’s gigantic total.
Reflecting on his partnership with Rohit, Kohli said, “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.”
“Today it was classic Rohit Sharma. And then Surya coming in at three and taking the game even further away. Then Hardik finishing it. Augurs well for the team,” he added.
Kohli, who earned the Player-of-the-Series award for scoring 231 runs at an average of 115.50, said it was a complete game for the team.
“It was a complete game for us. Totally outplayed the opposition. Even with so much dew coming in, like last game we’ve defended the total again. Despite Rishabh and Iyer not getting a chance (to bat) we put on 225,” said the captain.
“It’s a testimony to our batting depth.”
Talking about other players, he said, “Also how Shreyas batted in the last game and the responsibility he showed in the first game. Ishan (Kishan) was brilliant. I was particularly pleased with Surya.”
“Bhuvi coming back and bowling like that. Still have Jassi (Jasprit Bumrah) to come back. Don’t have much in terms of negatives. Pant showed a lot of maturity through the series as well.
“Confidence level of (Shardul) Thakur after that series in Australia is sky high. With the ball, his strength is his belief. Proper cricketer. Giving us runs with the bat as well.”
(With PTI inputs)