Kohli salutes 'outstanding' Black Caps bowlers as India suffer World Cup exit
Virat Kohli conceded the "outstanding skill level" on display from New Zealand's bowlers in the early part of India's chase made the difference in their Cricket World Cup semi-final.
In a match-of-the-tournament contender, played over two days due to rain in Manchester, it was the Black Caps who fought into a second consecutive final with an 18-run win at Old Trafford.
New Zealand scrapped to a total of 239-8 after sedate scoring a day previously, but Matt Henry and Trent Boult ran roughshod through India's star-studded top order, with Kohli's men slipping to 71-5.
A gallant century stand from MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja set the tone for a thrilling chase, but New Zealand showed impressive resolve to upset the odds and will now face the winner of the Edgbaston semi-final between England and Australia.
"We got what we needed to get in the field in the morning and we thought we had restricted them to a total that is chaseable on any surface," India captain Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
"But the way they bowled in that first half an hour was the difference in the game.
"It was fine having to come back today. We had a good day yesterday and I'm very proud of that effort. Then it was a professional effort with the ball this morning and we had the momentum.
"But credit to the New Zealand bowlers - the way they bowled with the new ball, moving it around, it was an outstanding skill level on display and they made life very difficult for our batsmen."
Jadeja's explosive knock of 77 from 59 balls, which included four fours and as many sixes, almost turned the game but when his sky-bound effort was pouched by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson it was game over.
"Jadeja had an outstanding game. The way he played today was a great sign for his skill set and what he can do for the team," Kohli added.
"He turned the game around in no time and had a good partnership with Dhoni, who got run out in the end. It's a game of margins.
"It's tough - 45 minutes of bad cricket puts you out of the tournament. It's hard to come to terms with, but New Zealand deserve it - they put us under pressure and came through in the key moments."