Thiruvananthapuram: India captain Virat Kohli criticised his teammates’ fielding performance in the second T20 International against the West Indies, saying they need to be more “brave” or else no amount of runs would be defendable.
Washington Sundar, at mid-off, and Rishbh Pant, behind the stumps, dropped catches off successive deliveries from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Lendl Simmons (67 no off 45 balls), Evin Lewis (40 off 35 balls) and Nicholas Pooran (38 no off 18 balls). The hosts lost the match by eight wickets here on Sunday.
“If we field so poorly, no amount of runs will be enough. We were poor in the field during the last two games. We dropped two catches (Sundar and Pant) in one over. Imagine if they lost two in the same over that could have increased pressure,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
“Everyone saw we need to be more brave in fielding. It’s a do-or-die game coming up in Mumbai,” he added.
Kohli also felt that a below-par batting performance in the final four overs cost them dearly.
Having lost seven out of the last 15 T20 games where they have batted first, Kohli was asked if it has become an issue as statistics suggested.
“Numbers say a lot of things. They can say a lot of things that aren’t there as well. I think we were good for the first 16 overs while batting when we were 140 for 4. But then in the last four overs, we should have got 40 to 45 runs and we got only thirty. We need to focus on that,” Kohli said.
In fact, India scored only 38 runs in the last five overs after Shivam Dube’s 54 off 30 balls provided a platform for final assault.
“Shivam’s knock helped us reach 170. To be honest, West Indies bowled cutters and their change of pace did not help us. They read the pitch better than us. West Indies played a very good game and they deserved to win,” the skipper admitted.
He was happy that the ploy to send Dube at No.3 worked wonderfully well even though they ended up on the losing side.
“(About Dube) We knew they will use spinners early so we thought why not use Shivam’s power. The plan worked well.”
He took a stunning catch at the boundary line to dismiss Shimron Hetmyer and Kohli felt that it was a case of the ball sticking to his hands.
“(The catch he took) It was just something that stuck in my hand. Committed to the ball and luckily it stuck. I dropped a one-hander in the last game.”
His opposite number Kieron Pollard was happy that his bowlers did an exceptional job in restricting India to 170 despite Dube getting stuck into him in the ninth over of the Indian innings.
“To be able to restrict India to 170 after my expensive over, it was fantastic. The way we batted, we had discussed how to approach the game, and the boys played it well.”
He was all praise for leg-spinner Hayden Walsh, who had very impressive figures of 2 for 28 in four overs.
“We have some guys who have done well from the CPL, and we are excited for them. I am pretty excited for this young bunch. Walshy’s four overs were really good. Kesrick bouncing back too.”
A fit-again Simmons did his job just like he had done in that World T20 semi-final in 2016 and Pollard couldn’t be happier.
“Simmo started slow, but he knows he can catch up. He has played a lot in India. Seniors showed their way and youngsters followed.”
On personal front, Pollard finds it imperative to share his knowledge with youngsters.
“I am continuing to enjoy my cricket. Most I can do is pass on the knowledge to the youngsters. We will have good results if we stay as a unit. I pride myself on being a leader.
“And now captain, the will is stronger. But there were areas we need to improve about: couple of wides, couple of no-balls. We look forward to the final game at Wankhede,” he said.