India captain Virat Kohli lauded his bowlers after their series winning performance in the high- scoring third ODI in Kanpur on Sunday. Jasprit Bumrah's (3/47 in 10 overs) fantastic bowling at the death ensured that India restricted New Zealand to 331 for 7 after scoring 337 in the final ODI, winning the series 2-1.
"To be fair to the bowlers: the wicket eased out nicely. The ball was coming onto the bat beautifully. But glad the bowlers came out on top: it was like a knockout game for us, and the boys showed their character," Kohli said at the post-match presentation. (SCORECARD)
3rd ODI: Jasprit Bumrah's heroics at death, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma tons help India clinch series 2-1 vs New Zealand
However, the Indian captain was gracious in praising New Zealand's performance in all three games.
"Credit to New Zealand. They challenged us in all three games and forced us to play our best in every game. Credit to the skill and character they possess."
Kohli was seen fielding at the boundary and during the end overs wasn't as animated as one has seen him during all these years.
"I decided that I would let the bowlers do what they want to do and that's why I was calm. There was dew too, just glad the boys pulled through."
The skipper was modest about his own stellar role that fetched him another Man of the Series award with 263 runs to his credit.
"My aim is for the team to win the game and the series, and if I personally do well, then it's an added bonus."
On reaching the fastest 9000 runs in the history of ODIs, Kohli, said: "These things are hard to ignore since we keep hearing these, but the aim is to always make the team win from any situation."
Man of the match Rohit Sharma said that he did work on certain adjustment in his technique which paid dividends.
"I was watching the pre-match analysis where they said my head was falling off, so I worked slightly on it. That helped. My head was falling a bit and wasn't coming into the line of the ball. The quickly you rectify, the better it is."
"Every hundred is special, but what I was working on came off well, and that's why I am happy. Sanjay Bangar (batting coach) helped my work on some of these things and that's when results are more pleasing."
Rival skipper Kane Williamson was also happy that his team put up a great fight.
"It was a fantastic series, some great cricket played and in good series. Credit to Kohli and team, they were the better team, although by just a little bit."
"Losing from this close is frustrating, but there are good signs," Williamson sounded positive.
"The surface was good throughout, and the team that played better on that day won the games in this series. But against these guys, you have to be at your best to cross the line."
Williamson was all praise for his middle-order.
"Our middle order stood out. Tom Latham batted with such clarity, adapted and did the role so well. Henry Nicholls too, Ross batted well. Our seamers did well under difficult conditions. India played better cricket, and they deserve the win."
"Santner's a pretty good spinner, so it's a tough decision taking two specialist spinners."
(With PTI Inputs)