Virat Kohli dedicated his whirlwind of an innings to Anushka Sharma on their second wedding anniversary as India routed West Indies by 67 runs to take the three-match series 2-1 on Wesnesday. The hosts plundered a mammoth 240 runs batting first and in reply, the visitors could only muster 173/8 as India went home victorious by a big margin in the series decider at Wankhede.
The openers got off to a flying start for India with KL Rahul (91) and Rohit Sharma (71) putting on 135 runs together for the first wicket before the latter fell. India then sent Rishabh Pant up the order but the southpaw fell for a 2-ball duck, that brought Kohli to the crease and when all the carnage started.
The Indian captain took on the bowlers and absolutely smashed them all around the park to bring up his fifty off just 21 balls as the Windies bowlers struggled to keep a leash on him and Rahul. Kohli eventually ended on 70 not out with a six off the last ball of the innings to power India to 240/3. Kohli smashed four boundaries and seven maximums in his 29-ball stay athe crease, striking them at 241.38.
Speaking at the post-match interview about his new demeanour, Kohli said that it was a special innings and on the ocassion of their second wedding anniversary, it was a special gift on his part.
"It was a pretty special innings and also being our second wedding anniversary, it was a special gift. It was a special night and one of the best innings I have played," Kohli told Sanjay Manjrekar.
"We had spoken a lot (about batting first and winning). It was about going out there and executing. I was in the zone and I carried on. Told KL, he needs to bat long and hold one end. And batting first we won, feels really good. I know I can contribute in all three formats. It is about putting your mind into it. Now with the World Cup coming up there is motivation. My part becomes crucial as I have to play two roles," he added.
The 31-year-old also hailed Rohit and KL for playing with clarity and attacking the West Indies bowlers and putting on the big runs.
"When you are not playing T20s for a while and come back and play like this, it feels good. There is one thing about talking about the plans but it is about executing them on the field. I think two guys in the middle with clarity and the way Rahul and Rohit played today was the key today," Kohli said.
He also admitted that India have been a tad cautious batting first at times and now that they know what they're capable of, the team should remember that going towards the World Cup in Australia.
"Batting first, we have been too tight and hesitant, but this pitch allowed us to play freely. It was a good lesson for us and now we need to remember it."