Johannesburg, February 12
India captain Virat Kohli rued his team’s misfortune but admitted that South Africa were the deserving winners as they showed a lot of character during their five-wicket win in the fourth ODI here. With their tail up in the series following a 3-0 lead, India went into yesterday’s game as favourites but twin weather breaks, coupled with a few missed chances, brought to a halt their rampaging ODI run as South Africa kept the series alive.
“In hindsight you have to give credit to South Africa. I think they played with a lot of character in the end, they pulled through, they deserved to win,” Kohli said after last night’s weather-hit and curtailed ODI.
“They are a quality side, we expected them to play quality cricket and they played well. We know we’ll have to be at the top of our game to get another win under our belt and we’ll work extremely hard for that,” he added.
Opting to bat, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli were going great guns before lightning first stopped play when the visitors were 200/2. Although no overs were cut, India lost the momentum and finished at 289/7.
Another rain break, during South Africa’s innings, forced the match to be reduced to 28 overs with the hosts set a revised target of 202. Kohli noted how conditions had worked against his team as India scored just 89 in 16.3 overs after the first break of play.
“After the break when Shikhar and Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane) came off, the wicket played a bit differently, it wasn’t as good to bat after the break,” he said.
“After the lightning break, the guys felt with the weather getting cooler, the wicket got faster in the evening, and that continued through the innings, so I don’t think the guys quite settled in in the later half.”
‘Shortened game helped SA’
Kohli felt the curtailment of the match helped South Africa. “The game getting shorter probably worked in their favour, they had to hit regardless of what the situation was. If it was a full game you never know,” he said.
“It was more like a T20 game where you have to go after the bowlers and it can get difficult when people get into a groove and when a side has momentum it can be very difficult to stop them.”
The India skipper also gave credit to South Africa for the way they went about their run chase. “Especially Miller and their wicketkeeper batted very well, when we got AB I thought we were in the game, but those two guys took the game away from us,” he said.