Guwahati: Leading the side for the first time, India captain Gautam Gambhir on Sunday lavished praise on centurion Virat Kohli for scripting a 40-run win over New Zealand in the first ODI, which also helped the hosts take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
“Virat batted exceptionally well on Sunday. After losing the toss, our plan was that someone needs to go and get a hundred and he did exactly the same. He was good with his shot selection. Overall, I am satisfied with the performance of the team,” said Gambhir, who also scored a quickfire 38 at the top to give the team a sound start.
“Both batsmen and bowlers chipped in with useful contributions. R Ashwin bowled brilliantly, pacers Nehra and Sreesanth were equally good. Virat, Yuvraj and other batsmen were also good. We hope to continue the momentum in the fixtures ahead,” said the dashing opener.
Asked about captaining the side in the absence of regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been rested for the series ahead of the tough tour of South Africa starting next month, Gambhir said, “leading the side was a great feeling and I am happy to start with a win.”
Man of the Match Kohli, fresh from his back-to-back centuries in Ranji Trophy, struck a neat and chanceless 105, an innings which was laced with 10 boundaries. This was his second consecutive and fourth overall one-day ton.
The Delhi-lad said he has brought some changes to his aggressive style of batting and is now concentrating more on the singles and twos.
“It feels good to get a century. I just want to make the most of my outing. After the Sri Lanka series bad patch, I got enough backing from the team and coach to deliver the goods and, these days, I am more into analysing my game.
“I am concentrating on holding one end and let others do their bit. I am converting more singles and doubles these days. It’s good to score runs and help your team post a good total on the board,” he said.
Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Ross Taylor said losing three-four wickets in the middle stage of the innings cost them the game.
“Everything did not go right for us on Sunday. In the middle stage, we lost three-four wickets that made a lot of difference. It’s a disappointing result for us and we hope to pick up from here,” Taylor said.
“We came pretty close in the end but overall efforts seemed to be little short. Virat batted well and took the game away from us. We hope to play better in the series ahead,” he added.