Virat Kohli has shot down suggestions India took Pakistan lightly, after the cricket heavyweights lost their first match to their biggest rivals in T20 cricket.
India had an unblemished 12-0 record, but over 18 overs Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan sealed a stunning 10-wicket victory to blow up the T20 World Cup.
World Cup-winner and Australian legend Shane Warne said Pakistan were now the favourites to take out the tournament following their convincing victory.
Catch all the ICC T20 World Cup action live & exclusive to Fox Cricket, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today
Former England captain Mike Atherton described their victory as a “hammering”.
“It is not hard to imagine the scenes across Pakistan, with families huddled around television sets in every city, town and village in the land saying a silent prayer in thanks,” Atherton wrote in The Times.
“On a night that Pakistan supporters will remember for the rest of their lives, their team beat India for the first time in a World Cup match at the 13th time of asking. Not just beat them, but shredded them by ten wickets with 13 balls to spare. It was a hammering.”
While Harsha Bhogle said “India’s bowling lacked any kind of zing” and would “engage the think tank” more than their batting, as Kohli’s men were pegged back after left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi blew open their top order.
But Kohli denied his side simply thought they could turn up and blow over Pakistan.
“You don’t go out there to take anything lightly, especially a team like Pakistan who on their day can beat anyone in the world,” Kohli, who will relinquish India’s Twenty20 captaincy after the tournament, said.
“This is a game that has to be respected, and we are a team that definitely respects the game…
“We never take any opposition lightly. Neither do we differentiate between oppositions, that’s how we play our cricket.”
“They definitely outplayed us,” Kohli added. “You don’t win by 10 wickets if you don’t outplay the opposition. We did not even get any chances. They were very professional and you definitely have to give them credit.
“We tried our best to create enough pressure on them but they had the answers. There’s no shame in accepting that a team played better than you.”
Kohli, who hit 57 in India’s 7-151, said the toss was going to prove decisive throughout the tournament, believing the heavy dew made life difficult to slow Pakistan’s momentum.
“The more dew came in towards the second half of the Pakistan innings, they were able to rotate strike. We were not able to get the dot balls,” said Kohli.
“Toss is definitely going to be a big factor in this tournament especially if dew keeps creeping in the later half of the game. You need those extra runs in the first half.”
India now don’t play their next match until facing New Zealand on October 31.
Kohli said the break would be a meaningful one, particularly after the IPL recently concluded.
“We know exactly how the game went, and where it went wrong. We have absolute clarity of that,” the 32-year-old said.
“That’s a good thing to know where you went wrong as a team, so that we can work on it and try and correct it and move forward.
“We still have a lot of matches in this tournament and if we stick to the process we follow, we definitely feel like we can overcome these mistakes.”