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Kohli hails Bumrah as India's deadliest weapon


Bowled over: Virat Bumrah gets Quinton De Kock’s wicket
Bowled over: Virat Bumrah gets Quinton De Kock’s wicket

By Nick Purewal

Virat Kohli believes seamer Jasprit Bumrah has India's World Cup rivals "clueless" when it comes to playing him.

Bumrah terrorised South Africa in Southampton as the Proteas slipped to a third straight World Cup defeat, with India prevailing by six wickets.

India skipper Kohli hailed Bumrah for arriving in England knowing he is ready to dominate the World Cup, and admitted the Ahmedabad-born paceman has the game's top batsmen bamboozled.

"He can nick you off on any wicket and he has that belief," said Kohli. "He's just going to bowl consistently and can still get you out. When you see batsmen clueless against him, and he's actually rushing people.

"To get guys out like that, just rushing them a bit, it's a great thing and it's a testament to his hard work. He understands that this is his time and he's making the most of it. He's going to be a massive factor for us here."

Rohit Sharma racked up an unbeaten 122 as India coasted to their target, gearing up to face Australia at The Oval on Sunday with a comfortable victory.

India launched their World Cup campaign in fine style, restricting South Africa to 227 for nine, with Bumrah to the fore and Yuzvendra Chahal bagging four for 51.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar grabbed a pair of wickets himself and Kuldeep Yadav also claimed a wicket as India fired a warning shot to opponents looking to hit big that they will take some subduing with the ball.

Kohli revealed Bumrah is even striking fear into his team-mates in the nets, but insisted India are relishing such a tough examination in training.

"Facing Jasprit, you have to play good cricketing shots against him and back your technique against him," said Kohli.

"If you're hesitant, he's all over you.

"If he senses you're not enjoying the short ball, he makes sure you get it. He will bounce people, york people with the new ball. If you're not on top of your game, it can be trouble. If you play well against him in the nets, you walk out with more confidence."

South Africa meanwhile were left to lick the wounds of a third defeat in a row, that leaves their World Cup semi-final hopes hanging by a thread. Paceman Chris Morris insisted however that the under-fire Proteas still have the wherewithal to conjure the six straight victories they will need to stand any chance of reaching the last four.

"It's pretty simple: lose three in a row at the World Cup, and you need to win every game from now on in," said Morris.

"But the guys know what needs to be done, they are disappointed and a little bit angry.

"We'll sort that out in our heads tonight and when the sun comes up we'll go again.

"It's pretty simple: win the next six and crack on. The schedule has been a bit tough. It has been a bit tough on the body.

"But mentally we are pretty fresh, it's quite draining to go three down. But I think we'll be okay, there's a lot of strong-willed guys in that team. The fans at home, all we can say to them is 'stay with us, back us as much as we can and we'll try and perform for you'. Stranger things have happened in the past in World Cups in any sport."

• New Zealand scraped a nervy World Cup win over Bangladesh as Ross Taylor marked his 400th international match with a crucial half-century.

Taylor, who reached the milestone across all formats, hit 82 off 91 balls and shared a superb 105-run partnership with Kane Williamson during a dramatic two-wicket success.

The Black Caps had looked on course for a comfortable second successive victory of the tournament after Matt Henry's four-wicket haul helped bowl Bangladesh out for 244.

The Tigers threatened an unlikely comeback before falling agonisingly short in the 48th over.

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