London: After suffering a heart-wrenching seven-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka, India skipper Virat Kohli has asserted that his side will have to push harder and put more runs on the board in what would be a virtual quarter-final against South Africa in the ongoing Champions Trophy.
Sri Lanka, who have been termed as ‘underdogs’ in the ongoing event, on Thursday overcame the India challenge as they registered a comfortable seven-wicket win over their Asian neighbours in their crucial encounter here at the Oval, London.
Chasing a huge total of 322, the islanders came out with a stupendous batting performance and crossed the line with nine balls to spare. “I personally thought we had enough runs on the board. I also bowled decently. If batsmen come out and everyone plays like that, then you have to give credit to the opposition as well,” Virat Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
“We are not invincible. We are playing against oppositions who are also champion sides. They are among the top eight teams in the world. There are no gurantees that someone can’t beat the other.”
“When you lose games, you always find negatives. But if a side comes out and plays fearless cricket like this and executes their plans and shots so well, you have to take your hat sometime and say ‘Very well played’,” he added.
Put to into bat, the defending champions rode on the spectacular century of Shikhar Dhawan to post a huge total of 321-6 against the Lankan Tigers. Both Dhawan (125) and Rohit Sharma (78) provided the Men in Blue with a stupendous start, putting 138 runs for the opening stand. However, as soon as Rohit Sharma departed, skipper Kohli (0) and last match’s hero Yuvraj Singh (7) also went down cheaply.
However, veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni then shared a 82-run stand with Dhawan and took India to a commanding position. Both the batsmen smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all parts of the ground and didn’t allow them to settle in. Towards the end of the innings, Kedar Jadhav played a sweet little cameo of 25 runs off 13 balls and helped India, not only reach past the 300-mark but post a total of 321-6.
Speaking about the batting performance, the 28-year-old Indian skipper said, “I thought we had enough runs midway. But the good thing they did was they did not lose wickets and they kept rotating strike which we as a team have done so many times.”
“Everyone of their team came out and played positive cricket. When we got two run-outs we thought we can get a couple more but those guys came and played their shots and it came off well.”
“I think we have to push harder now in the next few games to give us a 20-run cushion may be after seeing a result like this because we are playing on the same ground,” he added.
All the teams in Group B ( India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Pakistan) are now with two points each and two matches now become virtual quarter-finals for them. The Virat Kohli-led side are still at the top of the table in their group courtesy their healthy run-rate.
The defending champions will next face South Africa at the Oval on Sunday while Sri Lanka play Pakistan on Monday at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.