India captain Virat Kohli and opener Rohit Sharma are not just two of the best batsmen in the Indian team at the moment but are also the best batting pair in currently in world cricket. Their prowess with the bat was once again on display during the third one-day international against New Zealand. After being put in to bat in the series-decider, Rohit and Kohli struck sublime hundreds to lay the foundation for India's narrow 6-run victory. Kohli (113) struck his 32nd ODI hundred and put on 230 runs for the second wicket with Rohit (147), who hit his 15th ton in the format as India scored 337/6. In reply, the Black Caps rode on half-centuries from Colin Munro (75), Kane Williamson (64) and Tom Latham (65) before falling agonizingly short at 331/7 in 50 overs. This was India's seventh straight bilateral ODI series win.
This was the fourth time that Rohit and Kohli were involved in a double-hundred partnership in ODI cricket. The stand of 230 for the second wicket was the second highest for India for any wicket vs New Zealand in ODIs next only to the 331 between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid for the second wicket at Hyderabad on November 8, 1999. It was also the highest partnership involving Kohli and Rohit in ODIs. The pair became the first to be associated in four double century stands in ODIs.
Post the match, Kohli caught up with Rohit on the mic and shared some insights on how the two go about their business so effortlessly.
Here are the excerpts from the interview available on BCCI.tv.
Virat Kohli: Another nice series win for us. I have the man-of-the-match with me and the guy I really like batting with. Well done on your hundred Rohit. How does it feel when it comes off in an important match? It was our fourth double-hundred partnership (in ODIs), may be many more in future.
Rohit Sharma: Absolutely, much more in future. I look forward to that. When you play at this level, to keep up the consistency level is hard and tough. But, we as players always work towards it and we want to be consistent as much as possible. For me, it's been very simple.
Whenever I get an opportunity in the middle, I want to express myself. Since I have started opening the batting, it was all about giving the team a good start. Of course, the score at the end matters but for me bringing the team to a good position and laying the platform for our middle-order to come and explode later on, that is something I always try to do. When you are in good form you always tend to go hard and put pressure on the bowlers.
The first few games we played, it did not come off but today (Sunday) I was quite determined to get the partnership going and it was important for us as it was the series decider. Glad we did not get run-out. We had a mishap couple of times in the middle but we stuck in the middle quite well, we rotated the strike well. It is always fun batting with you.
Virat Kohli: Generally when we play together we don't have to say much because we both understand where the game is going. We both think for the team so it's always great batting with him because you don't have to say much. We know if we play our games then the team will benefit and we can score big runs because we both want to play long.
Our bowlers and how we pulled back things in the second half? I felt really proud because a lot of times we have given it away before but today in a crunch game which will help us in big tournaments in the future, we really did the job.
Rohit Sharma: Absolutely. When you win games like this it gives you confidence as a bowling unit. We know it won't be easy for the bowlers considering the dew factor. The bowlers were courageous in whatever they did and planned. Tactically they stuck to their plans. We saw that, again and again, our bowling unit coming and delivering for us.
Especially against Australia in the last series, we were put under pressure many a times but these guys came back really well and that is the hallmark of this team. We always try and come back from the situation we are put in. When you want to be a champion team we need to come back and try and find a way to come back into the game. There will be times when you will be put under pressure, there will be big partnerships and things like that but I think our bowlers, especially spinners, have got us back into the game consistently. With so much dew, we knew it would be challenging for the spinners but they were courageous as I said and they were never afraid of executing their plans.
Virat Kohli: It was a great day all-in-all for us. Another special day for us to remember on a personal level and as a team as well. Four double-hundred partnerships now and I have enjoyed each and every one of them. It is always amazing to watch this guy bat from the other end and really love batting with him.