Virat Kohli heaped rich praise on man-of-the-match Yuvraj Singh, whose 32-ball 53 turned out to be the game-changer for India in their opening Champions Trophy 2017 clash against Pakistan.India were also aided by half-centuries from openers Rohit Sharma (91) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) besides an unbeaten 81 from Kohli himself. However, the captain was not as fluent as he generally is in limited-overs cricket and it was Yuvraj’s blitz that helped take off some pressure.Kohli and Yuvraj came together with India 192/2 off 36.4 overs and they had raced to 285/3 in 58 balls by the time Yuvraj fell to Hassan Ali.Kohli appeared to be somewhat rusty for the first half of his innings but India were never really stuck as Yuvraj clobbered eight fours and a huge six.The 28-year-old skipper conceded Yuvraj’s knock allowed him to breathe a little easy when the going got tough in the middle.”Yuvraj was outstanding. He took all the pressure off me, when I was not hitting it well. I felt like a club batsman in front of him. He is a game-changer with the bat and that’s why he plays in the team,” Kohli said while also acknowledging the role of Dhawan and Rohit at the top of the order.It was a clinical performance from India, who batted brilliantly despite the constant rain stoppage and then turned on the heat with the ball, bowling Pakistan out for 164.But Kohli was far from pleased with his team’s fielding effort and stressed that the players needed to raise the bar in a challenging tournament.”We were 9 out of 10 with the ball, we were right up there. In the field, we were 6 out of 10. If we tune that up to 8 or 9, we will be a very strong side in the tournament.“I think this was a complete performance to start the tournament. We took the momentum that we gained from the practice games into this game. Skill wise, we were really very good. This is a tournament of all champion teams, where you can’t relax at any stage,” he said.
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