Scoring some quick runs in the middle overs is one area India need to work on ahead of the World Cup, said skipper Virat Kohli even as he lauded his side’s “clinical” performance in the second ODI, on Saturday.
India thrashed New Zealand by 90 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. India bowled out the hosts for 234 in 40.2 overs after posting 324 for 4.
“Clinical performance again. We were really balanced with the bat. 325 was par. Not something you feel comfortable considering New Zealand’s batting. But it was good to put up a balanced performance,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
With Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan going great guns, a 350-plus score was a real possibility but the visitors couldn’t score extra runs in the middle overs, partly due to the dismissal of Kohli (43).
“I made a conscious effort after the drinks break that I’m going to go hard between 34-40 overs so we can get 340-350. Once I got out, the new batsman had to take time. These are the things we need to look into with the World Cup nearby,” he said.
“We would like to score those 15-20 runs extra but at the same time, good too see us chip our way to a balanced total.”
Spinners Kuldeep Yadav (4/45) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/52) once again shared six wickets between them and Kohli said their mindset has been a key factor for India.
“They are always ready to bowl for you and pick wickets, which is key. They are not content to go wicket-less for 40 runs in their quota, they’d rather have more wickets for 60,” he said.
“That mind-set is crucial for us and as is Rohit and Shikhar at the top.”
Rohit was adjudged Man of the Match for his 96-ball 87 which was studded with nine boundaries and three sixes.
“Good feeling (on his performance) but most importantly, we won the game. We never knew how the pitch is going to play to start with. But as the game went on, we understood what the par score would be,” he said.
“When New Zealand-Sri Lanka played here, it was a high-scoring game. 325 was par. But our bowlers delivered.”
Rohit and Dhawan shared a 154-run opening partnership, their 14th-century stand, to lay the foundation for a big score.
“We know each other since long and have a good understanding. Important for the team to get a good start and I have always enjoyed batting with Shikhar. I am sure it’s the same for him too,” Rohit said.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was left frustrated after their second straight defeat.
“A little bit frustrating. It’s not so much the losing, it’s the way we’ve been losing,” he said.
“We showed glimpses in the chase, we just didn’t do it long enough. We pulled it back with the ball. Still a large total, but Ish (Sodhi) was outstanding.”
Williamson said his team need to take small steps and learn from mistakes.
“There were some good steps forward. There’s two games in a row now where we’ve not had control at any stage, but we need to take small steps,’ he said.
“Some of the dismissals were a result of us going too hard maybe. If you have wickets in hand, you never know. But we didn’t have wickets in hand. Those are the lessons that we need to take ahead.