Virat Kohli was visibly disappointed with his side’s 180-run defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final on Sunday, admitting his side were outplayed.
India struggled to catch a break in the match, which was epitomised by a ruled-out wicket after a Japrit Bumrah no-ball, which saw Fakhar Zaman survive. The Pakistan opener went on to score a maiden ODI ton, and when a media representative identified this moment as a ‘pleasant moment in the match’, the India skipper answered quite abruptly.
‘How can a no-ball be pleasant for me? Is that even a sensible question?’
He did, however, recover from this later on, saying that Hardik Pandya’s batting performance was a pleasant moment for him and the side.
The all-rounder was the only beacon of hope for India. After being 72-6, the 23-year-old took his side past the 150-run mark by smashing the fastest fifty in an ICC tournament final.
Kohli has always considered the young all-rounder as a special talent and praised him once again after his 46-ball 76. Pandya was extremely upset after his dismissal, and the India skipper touched on his outburst of frustration after his run-out.
‘He’s a very passionate and committed cricketer. He felt like he was in the zone today and that he could have done something really special.
‘The way he batted, bowled and fielded, that’s exactly why we back him. Because he can be the match-winner for us in situations when the team are in trouble.
‘Today was a bit too far-fetched, we knew that with one more wicket [at this stage], it would get a bit tougher, but we felt that if he could go on for a bit longer, things would become interesting. Unfortunately, that did not happen.’
It was Pakistan’s day. After Zaman’s early survival and maiden ODI century, things kept going downhill for India. Azhar Ali, who came back into the squad, scored a half-century and shared the first-ever century partnership in an ICC tournament final with Zaman, which set the tone for Pakistan at 128-0.
Even though they lost wickets, their batsmen managed to recover, thanks to brave batting from their top six. Ali (59) Babar Azam (46) and Mohammad Hafeez (57 off 37 balls) all contributed with the bat, which saw them post a total of 338-4.
India had a horrid time with the bat. Their top three, who batted dominantly throughout the tournament, only scored 26 runs between them and saw India dismissed for 158, so ultimately the best team on the day won, confirmed by the India captain.
‘It’s always a bad feeling when the batting doesn’t work collectively.
‘They [Pakistan] had a really good performance and deserved to win.
‘Credit to them for winning the title. We did well to be in the finals and we leave here with our heads held high. Today, we were just outplayed in every department.’
He continued by expressing how the loss affected him personally.
‘It does feel bad, but eventually, you have to understand that you can only control so many things, and the game has to move on. That’s the type of thinking I have when these things happen.
‘Everyone feels bad about not having contributed to the team in any way and I felt the same emotions. But, you’ve played enough to understand your job is done, we’ve tried our best and can’t control anything else afterwards.
‘In the end, you have to sometimes accept and admire the skill of the opposition.’
Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images