Mohammed Shami sizzled with a five-wicket haul in his first game of the World Cup and his captain Rohit Sharma was all praise of him for grabbing the opportunity with both hands in India's four-wicket win over New Zealand in Dharamsala on Sunday. After Shami (5/54) led the Indian bowling attack to bowl New Zealand out for 273, chasemaster Virat Kohli struck a magnificent 95 to help his side chase down the target with 12 balls to spare. (Match Report | Highlights | Scorecard)
"Shami took the opportunity with both hands. He's got class and so much experience and he used the conditions really well," Rohit said at the post-match presentation.
"At one stage NZ put up a big partnership there. Dew came in as well. But we have to give credit to the bowlers in the back end. Good start to the tournament but job is half done."
Rohit had nothing much to say on Kohli's masterful knock as the maestro has been doing it for the country time and again.
"Nothing much to say about Virat. We've seen him do this for so many years. He backs himself to do the job," said the captain.
"Towards the end there was a bit of pressure with a few wickets lost, but Kohli and Jadeja took us home."
On his own performance, Rohit, who made 46 off 40 balls at the top of the batting order, said, "Shubman and I compliment each other quite well in the middle. Couldn't get big enough runs ourselves but happy to win."
India dropped a few catches in a rare shoddy fielding show but Rohit was not too concerned about it.
"Fielding is something we pride ourselves on. It wasn't as clinical as we'd like to. Couple of dropped catches but those guys are good, Jadeja is among the best in the game.
"We love travelling and playing in different parts of the country. So far we have not been disappointed and we have not disappointed the crowd as well."
New Zealand captain Tom Latham said his side were 30-40 runs short while batting.
"We didn't capitalise in the last ten overs (with the bat). India bowled well in the death and we left a few runs out there. With the ball, we never got a double breakthrough.
"I don't think we capitalised, we were 30-40 short. Daryl and Rachin set us up well for the back ten. From a batting point of view, Ravindra and Daryll gave the perfect blueprint. That are positions we want to be in, and when we get things right at the back end, we are dangerous."
Latham admitted that it was difficult to form a plan for Kohli who controlled his innings too well.
"Kohli played a fantastic innings. Controlled the tempo and the rest could bat around him. As a captain, you have to be proactive but also work to your plans. Think about match-ups. Virat has a response to most plans."
Talking about the thick fog which halted India's run chase briefly, Latham said, "The fog was very random - sometimes you get in random situations."
Shami, who was named Player of the Match, said it was important to get confidence early as he was coming back to the playing XI.
"The first game helped get that confidence. It's not too hard (waiting by the sidelines) if your team is doing well. They are your teammates and if they are doing well then you should be supporting them.
"If it's in the team's interest, I'm okay with it.
"The wickets are important because the top two teams of the World Cup were playing."