India captain Virat Kohli heaped praise on his bowlers as Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal produced a brilliant performance to hand the hosts a six-run victory against New Zealand in a high-scoring third and final One-Day International (ODI) at Green Park Stadium, Kanpur on Sunday. In reply to India's mammoth 337/6, the Kiwis mustered 331/7 as they fell short by seven runs. Kohli expressed his satisfaction at his team's bowling performance and said he was glad the bowlers came out on top.
The Indian skipper also credited the New Zealand team for putting up a great fight in all three ODIs and said that his team needed to be at their best to get the better of the visitors in the three-match ODI series.
Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers as he finished the match with the figures of three for 47 from his stipulated 10 overs and halted the flow of runs in the death overs.
Complimenting his team's all-round performance, Kohli said, "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."
However, the Indian captain did not fail to appreciate the visitors' performance in all three ODIs.
"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 said.
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."
Kohli, who scored his 32nd ODI century and became the fastest to score 9,000 ODI runs, won the Man of the Series award with 263 runs under his belt.
Talking about his role in the team's stellar performance, Kohli said, "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. 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 was the top scorer for India with 147 runs as he struck his 15th ODI century and fifth of this year.
"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," said Rohit.
Commenting on his improved technique, Rohit said, "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."
Skipper Kane Williamson praised his team for putting 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."
"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 added.
"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," Williamson remarked.