After SA demolition Kohli and his men have eyes trained on World Cup

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February 14, 2018

Indian captain Virat Kohli says his team might test its bench strength in the sixth and final ODI against South Africa on Friday but asserted that intensity won’t be lacking despite the match’s dead-rubber status.

India secured their first ever series win in South Africa across formats when they beat the hosts by 73 runs in the fifth ODI on Tuesday.

Now, Kohli and his men have their eyes trained on the 2019 World Cup.

“We are a team that always wants to think of ways we can improve and after this tour we will look be to even stronger with the 2019 World Cup in mind,” he said after India took a 4-1 lead in the six-match series on Tuesday.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to have created some history. The guys really got stuck in, with the bat and the ball and in the field as well,” he added after the Port Elizabeth triumph.

“After this series is wrapped up we’ll sit down and think about where to improve. For now, 4-1 feels great. We want to win 5-1, for sure, but there might be a scenario for a few more guys to get a chance in the next match,” Kohli said.

“But the ultimate priority is to win and we’ll do anything we can to win,” he added.

The performance of Kohli and wrist spinners Kuldeep Chahal and Yuzvendra Chahal stood out but the captain said the series win was the result of a team effort.

“I’m very pleased, it was another complete performance from us,” he said referring to Tuesday’s win.

“They (South Africa) had the pressure of losing this series and we knew that. Ever since the third Test in Johannesburg, it’s been a good time for us. It’s been a collective effort to create history,” he added.

South African stand-in captain Aiden Markram said his depleted team was outplayed by India in the series. Regular captain Faf du Plessis was ruled out due to a finger injury after the first ODI while AB de Villiers was not fit to take part in the first three games.

Wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock too got injured in the middle of the series.

“Firstly, credit goes to India. Our batting wasn’t up to scratch. You struggle to build momentum when you lose wickets. They’ve got their game plans nailed so credit to how they’ve played,” said Markram.

Barring one game, the South African batsmen struggled against Indian spinners and that made a huge difference in the outcome of the series.

“I do believe we’ve played their spinners progressively better in the series. It’s a learning process. There’s still a lot of pride to play for now and we’re going to look to bounce back and end the series on a positive note,” added Markram.

The final ODI takes place in Centurion on Friday.(Agencies)

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