Kohli credits Pakistan but refuses to panic

“We did not execute the things that we wanted to, but credit should be given where it’s due. Pakistan certainly outplayed us today,” said Virat Kohli, who also insisted he will not be pressing the panic button; Babar Azam said Pakistan executed their plans well

Last Updated: 24/10/21 8:16pm

India captain Virat Kohli congratulates opener Mohammad Rizwan after Pakistan wrapped up their T20 World Cup victory with 13 balls to spare

India captain Virat Kohli congratulates opener Mohammad Rizwan after Pakistan wrapped up their T20 World Cup victory with 13 balls to spare

Virat Kohli praised Pakistan’s performance after his India side slumped to a 10-wicket defeat to their great rivals in their opening T20 World Cup match in Dubai.

Kohli’s 57 helped his side post a respectable total of 151-7 after Shaheen Afridi’s devastating opening spell had reduced them to 6-2.

But Pakistan’s openers, captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, then produced what Nasser Hussain described as “an absolute masterclass in how to go about a run chase” as they finished unbeaten on 68 and 79 respectively, to secure a first win over India in a World Cup match at the 13th attempt.

The India captain said: “We did not execute the things that we wanted to, but credit should be given where it’s due. Pakistan certainly outplayed us today. With the ball they started off brilliantly. When you get three wickets for 31 runs it’s very difficult to get back into the game, especially knowing that the conditions will be slightly different with dew coming in in the second half.

Shaheen Afridi celebrates the dismissal of Rohit Sharma for a duck

Shaheen Afridi celebrates the dismissal of Rohit Sharma for a duck

“We always knew that we needed a total that was competitive but even with the bat they did not give us any chances. They were very, very professional and effective out there in the middle.”

India do not play again until next Sunday when they take on New Zealand and Kohli insisted they will not be pressing the panic button after this defeat.

He also resisted suggestions playing an extra slow bowler would have been beneficial to his side against Pakistan, as the dew on the playing surface at the Dubai International Stadium would not have helped them.

“With the dew coming in in the second half, the slower bowlers were not effective,” he added.

Kohli was the mainstay of the India innings with a variety of shots in his 57

Kohli was the mainstay of the India innings with a variety of shots in his 57

“It really depends on what kind of combination you are comfortable with. We are certainly not a team that presses the panic button and it’s just the start of the tournament, it’s not the end.

“So it’s very important to stay composed and just understand our strengths and how we want to execute those plans out there in the middle. There definitely will be a chat about what we want to do in the next game, but it’s certainly not a stage that we think ‘oh what are we going to do moving forward’. This is the first game of the tournament and every team knows that.”

The match may not have gone to plan for India but Pakistan’s plans certainly proved to be a recipe for success as they claimed their first 10-wicket win in a T20I – it was also India’s first defeat by that margin – with 13 balls to spare.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam celebrates after reaching his half century

Pakistan captain Babar Azam celebrates after reaching his half century

“We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful,” said Babar.

“The plan with Rizwan was to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the eighth over, the dew came in and the ball came on nicely.

“This is just the start, we have confidence to build on this win.”

New Zealand are also next up for Pakistan but on Tuesday with a short turnaround for them.

Pakistan vs New Zealand

October 26, 2021, 2:30pm

Live on

The T20 World Cup continues on Monday with Scotland taking on Afghanistan in the second Group 2 game on Monday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.30pm.

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