Virat Kohli: Just 45 minutes of bad cricket cost India place in World Cup final
India had finished top of the group stage.
Virat Kohli reflected on three quarters of an hour of mayhem that ultimately led to India’s dramatic exit from the World Cup at the semi-final stage for a second time in four years.
Chasing 240, India lurched to 24 for four after 10 overs, losing three wickets in the space of 11 balls at one stage, including the prize scalps of Rohit Sharma and Kohli in a spellbinding passage of play at Old Trafford.
Ravindra Jadeja’s swashbuckling 77 and a patient 50 from Mahendra Singh Dhoni took India close to overhauling New Zealand’s 239 for eight but they were all out for 221 in 49.3 overs, Kohli pinpointing the top order wobble for their elimination.
We played outstanding cricket throughout this tournament and to just go out on the basis of 45 minutes of bad cricket is saddening. Virat Kohli
The India captain said: “We played outstanding cricket throughout this tournament and to just go out on the basis of 45 minutes of bad cricket is saddening and it breaks your heart.”
Rohit and Kohli had amassed 1,000 runs between them to help India top the group standings but the pair contributed just one apiece on the reserve day of this last four encounter at Old Trafford.
Kohli added: “It’s very disappointing, not turning up when the team wanted me. Obviously, it feels bad. Everyone gets disappointed when they get out.
“You have worked so hard throughout the tournament to build momentum. You finish number one in the table and then a spell of bad cricket and then you are out of the tournament completely.
“But you have to accept it. It’s happened to us before and we have all come out better cricketers because of these setbacks, especially at a stage like a World Cup.”
Kohli was receptive to a possible change in format for the knockout stages in future editions, incorporating play-offs, arguing that finishing atop the group table should count for more.
He said: “Who knows in future? Maybe. If topping the table means anything.
“I think these things can come into consideration, looking at the magnitude of this tournament. That is a really valid point. You never know when that is going to be implemented.”
New Zealand are into a second successive final after toppling a side many had tipped to go all the way. Kiwi captain Kane Williamson hopes India’s cricket-obsessed fans will cheer them on in the Lord’s showpiece this Sunday.
He said: “I hope they’re not too angry. Obviously, the passion for the game in India is unrivalled and we are all fortunate to play this sport and have a country like India be right behind it.
“Hopefully we can adopt 1.5 billion supporters and they’ll be supporting us.”
Williamson was also moved to support veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who attracted criticism in some quarters for not attacking sooner, only doing so when Ravindra Jadeja departed before being run out.
Williamson added: “We’ve seen Dhoni finish games from those similar positions on a number of occasions. It was a tough surface so nothing promised but naturally to dismiss Dhoni in whatever fashion is extremely important.
“Experience at this level and in these occasions is so important and his contribution throughout this campaign was extremely important.
“That partnership that he was involved in with Jadeja who came in and hit the ball better than anybody in both teams was very, very valuable. He’s (Dhoni) a world-class cricketer.”