India captain Virat Kohli on Friday said that his team’s convincing win at Auckland against New Zealand, chasing down a huge score, was just the kind of start he was looking for. India, who arrived here only a couple of days ago, chased down New Zealand’s 203/5 with an over to spare.
Kohli had spoken about the tight scheduling in the pre-match press conference but there was no such talk within the team.
“We enjoyed this. Landing two days before and playing a game like this; it was fantastic,” Kohli said.
He added, “This sets up for the whole tour for us. Felt like 80% support was for us and the crowd was right behind. You need that sort of push chasing 200 plus. We never spoke of the jet lag in the team. We didn’t want make any excuses.”
New Zealand is a good seven and a half hours ahead of India time. India came into the series high on confidence, having beaten Australia 2-1 at home in the ODI series that concluded on Sunday.
“We had a really good series against Australia and we took that confidence in here. You can’t be harsh on anyone on this kind of pitch. I think we did well in the middle overs. To restrict them under 210 was a good effort.”
“I think fielding is one thing that we can improve on, just getting used to the ground dimensions and the ball snaking a bit,” said Kohli, referring to the longer side boundaries and short straight boundaries at the peculiar shaped Eden Park.
Shreyas Iyer (58 not out off 29) finished the game for India after KL Rahul (56 off 27) and Kohli (45 off 32) provided the start needed to chase down an imposing score.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said defending 203 was always going to be tough at this venue.
“We know coming to Eden Park it’s hard to defend and there was a bit of dew and obviously India showed their class,” he said.
“We knew batting first we had to get a good total on the board. Being a second-used surface, it was a high scoring game. But with ball in hand, if we could get three or four early, we could have got ahead of the game.”
Williamson himself blazed away to a 26-ball 51. “Taking pace off seemed to be working okay, but it was tough to execute because India put us under pressure constantly. But we do need to find ways to pick up some wickets,” the New Zealand captain said.
“It was nice to build some partnerships. Guys came in and played their roles really well. It’s important we improve in all areas in the next game,” added Williamson.