‘No hesitations in admitting that we couldn’t play our best game’ — Kohli

Virat Kohli, Pakistan, India

Pakistan decimated arch-rivals India in the final of the Champions Trophy 2017 at The Oval on Sunday (June 18) to claim their first major ICC ODI tournament title in 25 years.While admitting that his team fell short in all aspects of the game, India skipper Virat Kohli was mature enough to give credit to Pakistan for putting up a dominant show. He also pointed out that his side is proud to finish as the runner-up despite losing a finale that India entered as favorites.

“We can be very proud of that as a unit, and we leave here with our heads held high because we understand the kind of expectations and pressures we face as a team,” Kohli said. “Credit to everyone for standing up and showing that resilience and reaching the finals, and today we were outplayed in all departments.

“They had to earn their win. They made us make those mistakes because of the way they were bowling and the way they applied the pressure in the field, as well. And we have no hesitations or shame to admit that we could not play our best game today.”

Exclusive: Clinical Pakistan thrash India to claim Champions Trophy title

India were bundled out for just 158 in their pursuit of mammoth 338 earlier set up by Pakistan, with only Hardik Pandya putting up a fight after being six down in 17 overs, making a gritty 76 off 43 balls that included six sixes off spin. But his cameo at the crease was cut short courtesy an ugly mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja, which saw both batsmen running towards the same end.

“Early wickets are never good, especially in a chase,” he said. “Then we kept losing wickets. One big partnership would have been the key to set it up nicely. It is always a bad feeling when you get out or the batting doesn’t work collectively. Not that we are not playing at our best, we tried our level best, but we just couldn’t make things happen today. But personally, yes, it does feel bad.

“When Hardik started hitting, everyone started getting the feeling that we could take the game deep,” Kohli said. “That was a pleasant moment. If we can take the game deep, then we can probably get closer to the total. But again, a mix-up or an error at that stage, so these things happen on the field, you understand that as cricketers.”

“He felt he was in the zone today and he could have done something really special, and that’s why the disappointment came out. You’re so committed, you’re so motivated that when things don’t happen, and without even it being a mistake, it can get frustrating.” Kohli said.

Kohli added that it is difficult to plan against the “high-risk” strokeplay of Fakhar Zaman, who scored a scintillating 114 from 106 balls in just his fourth ODI innings, and conceded that the left-hander was able to tackle everything that was thrown at him on the day.

“When a guy like Azhar is playing, who is a very conventional cricketer; plays shots that you can plan against, and you can still have bowling plans and so forth but when guys like Zaman get going, he plays unorthodox shots, they’re really difficult to stop,” he said. “Eighty percent of his shots were high risk and they were all coming off. Sometimes you have to sit and say, the guy is good enough on the day to tackle anything. You can only do so much.

“We certainly tried to make them hit in areas that we felt it would be uncomfortable, but we just didn’t have anything going our way in that partnership. Yes, they opened it up a little bit, but they kept going positive, which was something that could have upset the lines and lengths of the bowlers.”

Read: I can take South Africa to World Cup win, says de Villiers

India captain also lamented giving too many extra runs (India conceded 25 extra runs), and said his side will analyze and learn from this defeat.

“The extras is something that’s never a good feeling to concede so many. That is something that we need to keep a check on. You know, those things are something that are controllables. A guy hitting a good shot is something that after a stage it’s not in your control, you’ve already bowled the ball, but conceding extras is something that we can control as a team, and yeah, I mean, 25 extras is a bit too much in a game like that, and that’s something that we certainly need to take care of in the future.” He said.

“You learn with every cricket game that you play. It’s up to you whether you are open to learning things or you’re not. I mean, if you’re happy with success and then you’re completely ignoring it, and you want to ignore failures or dwell too much in it, it’s not a good balance at all. We have identified areas, even in victories, that we can improve at, and this is a loss … and definitely when you haven’t done things right, more things have gone wrong in a game, you obviously sit down and analyse and learn from it.”

Quick Single: Kohli reclaims first rank in ICC rankings for ODI batsmen