Guyana, Aug 7: India captain Virat Kohli praised Rishabh Pant for "finishing the game off", as the wicket-keeper batsman's stroke-filled 65 not out guided India to a seven-wicket win in the third and final game of the T20I series.
Pant had failed with the bat in the first two games of the series, registering scores of 0 and 4 in Florida. But on Tuesday, the aggressive left-hander walked in to bat in the fifth over of India's chase and put on a 106-run partnership with skipper Kohli to put the game firmly in India's control. His 42-ball stay at the crease was studded with four fours and as many sixes, as he registered a career-best score of 65 not out.
"Really good," Kohli said on Pant's innings. "For the first two games he was disappointed. He didn't get any runs and he was playing really well, hitting the ball really well, but that's how T20 cricket goes sometimes, you don't have the rub of the green. But today he made sure that he applied himself and backed his skills and backed himself to hit the big shots when required and really played with the tempo of the innings."
"And especially finishing the game off, that was the message from the batting coach for him, to finish the game. Hitting the winning runs always gives you more confidence as a player when you come not-out batting in the end. So we're really looking forward to seeing more performances from him like this. He's got tremendous talent, we all know that. It's just about getting into his zone and doing this more often for the team," Kohli said.
The foundation of India's third straight win of the series was set by their new ball
bowlers, led by Deepak Chahar, whose opening burst reduced the hosts to 14/3 in
the fourth over, an ICC report on Wednesday said.
Kohli was in all praises for the Rajasthan pacer and the debutant Rahul Chahar
who finished with figures of 1/27 in his three overs.
"We wanted to try a couple of guys," he said. "Rahul playing his first game and
Deepak coming back and playing again was outstanding with the new ball. The
pitch didn't have much, there was a bit of cloud cover. But the kind of swing he got
early on and got those three wickets really set West Indies back. They could have
got a big total but I think it was his execution with the new ball really pushed them
Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, returning to the team after having sustained
a thumb injury during the World Cup, could manage only 27 runs in three innings.
Kohli, however, seemed confident of Dhawan coming good in the five-match ODI
series beginning August 8 in Guyana.
"He's a very experienced player. Sometimes in T20 cricket we don't really look
much into how guys are playing because you need to get on with the game and
you will get out at some stage. So 50-over cricket gives you a bit more time to get
into your innings. And I think once he gets a bit of time in the middle we know the
skill sets that he has and the way he can bat. So not concerned at all," Kohli added. (UNI )