We want to give Rahul, Rishabh game time: Kohli

Visakhapatnam: India captain Virat Kohli wasn’t perturbed by his team’s shoddy batting performance in the first T20 International as he is looking to give more chances to youngsters KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant looking ahead at the World Cup in England. Rahul made an impressive half-century on his comeback but Pant was needlessly run-out during India’s three-wicket defeat against Australia in the first T20 International. Chasing a target of 127, Australia were cruising along before Jasprit Bumrah’s (3/16 in 4 overs) brilliant 19th over nearly won the game for India.

“We want to give Rahul and Rishab more game-time. Rahul played a really good knock and we had a good partnership. Had we gone on, we could have got 150, which would have been a match-winning score on this pitch. But Australia played better cricket overall and deserved to win,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

However, he didn’t forget to praise his bowlers for making a match of a low target like 127. “Very pleased with the bowling effort. Never thought we would be in this situation but Bumrah can do wonders when the ball is reversing. Even Mayank (Markande) bowled brilliantly in the middle overs as well,” said Kohli.

Winning captain Aaron Finch also conceded that facing Bumrah in the death overs is not an easy proposition. “When Bumrah has got overs up his sleeve, it’s never easy. But the run-outs didn’t help either. Maxwell played a hell of an innings on a difficult pitch,” Finch lauded the senior batsman.

About his innings that took the game away from India, Glejnn Maxwell said, “Batting at four is something that I have done well in T20Is and domestically back home in the Big Bash. It’s a position I’m comfortable to bat in. Hopefully, I continue to do well. I thought I was able to control in the middle overs. Had a good partnership with D’Arcy, but unfortunately both of us gout out in quick succession which caused a bit of chaos towards the end.” About his dismissal he said, “I was trying to hit another six, but it was a poor bat swing, I’ll make amends in the next game.”

Pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile, who was the pick of the Aussie bowlers with figures of three for 26 that earned him the man of the match, felt that the ball wasn’t coming onto the bat. “I thought the boys bowled really well and we scraped home. We worked out quickly that the ball was not coming on to the bat and dragged our lengths back. We have been playing a bit of cricket in the BBL. Really good to have a win and hopefully we will have another one and win the series,” said Coulter-Nile.