Kohli dedicates match-winning half-century to Tendulkar


India's Virat Kohli dedicated his match-winning half-century in Saturday's World Twenty20 victory over Pakistan to Sachin Tendulkar.

Having restricted Pakistan to 118-5 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, India's hopes of a successful run chase appeared to be in jeopardy when they were reduced to 23-3, Mohammad Sami (2-17) taking two wickets in as many balls for Pakistan.

But Kohli, aided by Yuvraj Singh (24) and captain MS Dhoni (13 not out), steered India away from a trouble and to a six-wicket victory with a classy 55 on a pitch displaying significant turn and bounce.

The triumph keeps India's hopes of reaching the semi-finals intact following an opening defeat to New Zealand.

Among those watching in Kolkata was legendary former batsman Tendulkar, who holds the record for all-time runs scored in both Tests and one-day internationals.

Kohli said: "I started playing cricket watching him [Tendulkar]. So do it in front of 67,000 people with him celebrating, it was a great feeling.

"It was a challenging wicket, that's what you want as a cricketer - new challenges to play. Last game, I was very disappointed to have got out, that really hurt.

"Even the 49 against Pakistan in Dhaka [in the Asia Cup] was really satisfying, that's what you need, a tough pitch a good bowling attack and you pulling your team out of trouble

"Yuvraj weathered the storm and then smacked a few. I think these performances are good for him as well, he's in good nick.

"I didn't look at wicket till [Ravichandran] Ashwin started bowling. The way the ball spun, I thought it was going to grip. Even cutters bowled by fast bowlers was gripping.

"So I told our batting coach [Sanjay Bangar] that since the ball was popping up, I would stand inside the crease and open the bat face rather than hit cover drive."

Asked if he expected the amount of turn the pitch produced, Dhoni added: "Not like this. In the second half, it got slightly better, and they had only one spinner.

"Initially, when we saw the pitch we did not think it would turn so much. I think we can do better, there are areas we can improve, once we get into the knockouts you won't get a second chance."