“We are not invincible,” said India captain Virat Kohli as he tried to make sense of the stunning loss to Sri Lanka despite posting, what he thought, was a winning total in their Champions Trophy clash here.
India set Sri Lanka a tough target of 322, which the islanders easily chased down with seven wickets in hand.
“I personally thought that we had enough on the board at the halfway stage. And I think our bowlers also bowled decently well. If the Lankan batsmen come out and play like that and everyone plays well, you have to give credit to the opposition as well. We are not invincible,” Kohli said at the post-match media conference here last night.
“We are playing against other sides who are also champion sides (in their own rights),” he reasoned.
“There’s always hindsight. I thought we bowled decently. But when you don’t execute properly, there is always food for thought. Here you have to give credit to the other team,” Kohli added.
Kohli said that rather than criticising his colleagues, he would like to compliment the kind of batsmanship displayed by Sri Lanka yesterday.
“If a side comes out there and plays cricket with that kind of mindset and executes their shots so well, then you have to take your hat off sometimes and say ‘very well played’,” he said.
Defending champions India are now in a do-or-die situation and will now have to beat South Africa in the virtual quarter-final to progress to the last four round.
“Yes, it’s become very exciting. Virtually every game is a quarter-final now. In our group especially, all teams are on two points, and you have to win your next game to go through, which is, I think, an exciting position to be in for all teams,” Kohli said.
“And for everyone involved in the tournament and the fans as well, I think, it’s a great scenario where you literally have two quarter-finals now which is going to be even more competitive cricket. So we are pretty clear about the whole situation, and, it certainly has opened up the whole table for sure,” the Indian skipper added.
Kohli said the “bowling collapse” last night would make him push harder for 20 runs extra when they take on South Africa at the same ground on Sunday.
“From the batting point of view, as I said, I thought we paced it well. I thought we had enough on the board. In hindsight, when you look back, maybe you think of phases that we could have accelerated, but I don’t see that as a major issue.
“May be, we will have to push harder now in the next few games to give us a 20-run cushion after a result like this.
This is because we are playing on the same ground (Oval) as well (in the next match),” he said. One could sense helplessness in his voice when he said that it was one of those days when none of his plans worked.
“Sometimes you literally can’t do anything in the game. You try to find ways to get people out, but it doesn’t happen. If you have a couple of guys with off days in between, you can’t go in with eight bowling options.
“You literally have five or six with a part-timer. In any case, you play two spinners, or you play four seamers,” Kohli said sarcastically.
“If two guys (Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja) aren’t able to execute their lines, it does become difficult. Me and Kedar (Jadhav) chipped in with our overs and we pulled back the game at that stage. But then, again, everyone came out and played positive cricket from their team,” a disappointed India captain added.
Asked as to how he will lift the team after the demoralising defeat, Kohli said he would treat it just like he would have treated a batting collapse.
“It is like a batting collapse. When you collapse as a batting unit, you don’t sit down and think your life is over. You just move on and say it’s a bad day. Forget about it.
That’s what. In a Test match, you have a lot to think about because the game goes on for five days,” he said.
“But I think in shorter format, you have to forget it and move on. As for people’s perception — we can’t sit here and think of what people perceive us to be or what people had expected of us as a team.”