India skipper Virat Kohli lauded Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav for scripting a memorable chase but said the bowlers set up their six-wicket win over Australia in the first ODI in Hyderabad on Saturday.
India produced a clinical bowling performance, led by Mohammed Shami, to restrict Australia to 236/7. The hosts then returned to chase down the target with Dhoni and Kedar forging a 141-run unfinished partnership to score 240 for four in 48.2 overs.
“It was a difficult sort of a game. We did a good job with the ball. You have experience with MS and flair with Kedar. I think Kedar and MS took responsibility, it was great. I think the bowling (won the game for us),” Kohli said.
Shami (2/44) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/46) scalped two wickets and Kohli said India’s bowling performance augurs well for the team as they head to the World Cup in a few months’ time.
“Kuldeep’s been doing it for a while. I have never seen Shami so lean, he has lost close to 6 kgs. Got Maxi [Maxwell] out with a beautiful ball. I haven’t seen him much hungrier [than he is now]. Heading into the World Cup, it’s a great sign for India.”
On Ravindra Jadeja, who bowled two miserly spells to keep the visitors under tight leash, Kohli said: “Ten overs for less than 35 is a great job on this pitch. He set his fields for his game too. He is a great asset in the field too.”
Kedar was adjudged the Man of the Match for taking a wicket and top-scoring with a 87-ball 81, which was studded with nine boundaries and a six.
Talking about his bowling, Kedar said: “My bowling is all about reading batsmen’s mind. I tried to bowl stump-to-stump. I don’t think like I’m a bowler. I enjoy my responsibility.”
During India’s recent tour of Australia, Kedar and Dhoni had starred in a successful chase in Melbourne in January and the Maharashtra batsman said having the former skipper at the other end eased his mind as he looked to take the chase deep.
“Recently in Australia, we pulled off similar kind of chase. I just did that again today. I tried to learn a lot from him (MS). MS and Cheeku (Virat Kohli) are the best chasers in the game,” Kedar said.
“That’s what we learn from the captain and that’s what we tried to do. I tried to play more shots early. He reads your mind, team needs more solidity. Every time you think the team, most of the times, you’ll end up on the winning side.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch said his team should have put up a bigger score and stressed on taking regular wickets.
“I think we were 20 or 30 runs short. I thought our bowlers did a terrific job. It’s not as if they are trying to get out. We certainly tried our best with the ball,” he said.
“I think the quick were good when they were banging it in. You have to continue taking wickets when you play against good teams.”
India will play Australia in the second ODI on 5 March.