Virat Kohli hailed India's fighting spirit after his side edged to a nervy 11-run victory over Afghanistan at the Cricket World Cup on Saturday. (HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD | POINTS TABLE | FULL SCHEDULE)
Few would have given the tournament's only winless side any hope of causing an upset at the Rose Bowl, but a superb bowling performance, restricting the favourites to just 224-8, had Afghanistan firmly in the contest at the halfway stage.
And that was still the case with Mohammad Nabi at the crease but, with 12 needed off four balls, the former captain holed out off the bowling of Mohammed Shami, who cleaned up Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman to finish the game with the first hat-trick of this year's competition.
It was a breathless end to a tense encounter, prompting Kohli to laud the character of India, who have four wins and a no-result from their five matches.
"This is right up there [among India's best wins]," Kohli said in the post-match presentation, having made 67 from 63 balls.
"We've been playing really good cricket…you expect to put big runs on the board, then you see the nature of the pitch slowing down drastically with their spinners.
"A team like Afghanistan with a lot of talent doesn't let you play the way you want to play. At the halfway mark we had doubts in our minds, but everyone had belief we can win this one.
"This game didn't go as planned, but when things don't go your way you need to show character, bounce back and fight until the last ball.
"That shows the character of our team and we can take a lot of heart from this win and take the confidence forward."
Kohli also reserved praise for Shami, who was making his first appearance at this World Cup and justified his selection with that final-over hat-trick and figures of 4-40.
"All in all, our bowling performance was outstanding," Kohli added. "Everyone is waiting for an opportunity, Shami was really good today and was making the ball do more than anyone else.
"He's been bowling really well, we selected a squad because we knew these guys are hungry. It's an honour for anyone to represent their country in a World Cup."