India captain Virat Kohli on Friday said he has learnt an important lesson in the back-to-back Super Over finishes against New Zealand: To “stay calm till the end” and bounce back when the opportunity arises.
A nervous New Zealand threw it away yet again as a perseverant India prevailed in the Super Over for the second successive time to take a 4-0 lead in the five-match T20 International series.
“There’s something new I’ve learnt in the last couple of games: when the opposition is playing well, you stay calm till the end and try to come back,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Needing just 11 runs off the last two overs with seven wickets in hand, New Zealand dug a hole for themselves yet again, taking the game to a Super Over two nights after doing the same in Hamilton.
New Zealand managed 13 runs in six balls and India got there effortlessly.
The India skipper said having come out victorious in two consecutive Super Overs for the first time proves the character of the team.
“We couldn’t have asked for more exciting games, we’ve never played Super Overs before and now we’ve won two. It shows the character of the team,” Kohli said.
Although Sanju Samson didn’t make any significant contribution in the match, Kohli said he initially thought of sending the Kerala batsman in the Super Over along side K L Rahul but eventually changed his mind.
“Initially we thought of opening with Samson and KL in the Super Over, but then KL told me I should bat because of the experience and the options I’ll bring,” he said.
“His (Rahul’s) two strikes were crucial and then you knock the ball into the gap and take your team over the line. Sanju was fearless at the top of the order. He tried to take the momentum away, he should back himself.”
Kohli also lavished praise on young pacer Navdeep Saini, who went wicketless on Friday.
“Saini was impressive with his pace again. We were very proud with the way we went about it,” he said.
New Zealand skipper Tim Southee, who stood in for injured regular captain Kane Williamson, said they presented India opportunities and the visitors grabbed them with both hands.
“It’s very tough especially in the positions we put ourselves into. We gave them (India) a chance and they took them with both hands,” he said.
“We have a young bowling attack and, it is tough, when you haven’t won and you play against a quality opposition in India, give them a sniff and make it tough for yourselves.”
Man-of-the-match Shardul Thakur, who finished with figures of 2 for 33 and also bowled the crucial last over in which New Zealand needed just seven runs, said such nail-bitting finishes augurs well for India ahead of this year’s ICC T20 World Cup.
“I’m feeling good, we play for such nail-biting finishes, we couldn’t have asked for anything more in these two games,” he said.
“After the last game we learnt that we should never lose hope. The wicket on the first ball of the last over was crucial because it made them nervous. Good contribution from me with the bat, I should have carried on and hopefully I’ll get more next time,” he added.
The fifth and final match of the series will be played at Mount Maunganui on Sunday.