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Youngsters showed character with the ball: Kohli

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Mohali, Sep 18: India captain Virat Kohli lauded the bowlers for restricting South Africa to 149/5 as India won by seven wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20 series, in the second game here on Wednesday.

India fielded a new-look bowling attack with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and star spinner Yuzvendra Chahal rested. The likes of Deepak Chahar, who returned best figures of 2/22, and Washington Sundar bowled a tight line after Quinton de Kock (52 off 37 balls; 8×4) was out thanks to a blinder of a catch from Kohli.

Navdeep Saini took the wicket and although the young pacer went for runs, in the first few and final over, he was supported by his colleagues including allrounder Ravindra Jadeja who took a wicket and did not give away too many runs.

"When you play like that and win a game for your team, it is always a good feeling. "The pitch was very good and an outstanding effort from the bowlers to pull things back. "As long as they (youngsters) show character in difficult situations, they are going to present a strong case for themselves in the future," Kohli said after the match.

With the bat, Kohli surpassed Rohit Sharma as the highest run getter in T20 internationals as he remained unbeaten on 72 to guide the team home. The captain said the knock reminded him of his 82 not out at this very ground against Australia in the 2016 World T20. 

"That night (2016 game vs AUS) was a revelation of how fit you can be on a cricket field. Lot of positive signs for us and they'll get many more games to prove their mettle. They are going in the right direction. The badge in front of my shirt – India – it is a pride to play for my country. Whatever it takes, whichever format, to get us across the line, I'll do that.

"Adapting in different formats is nothing but a mindset of making your team win. If you want to win a game for your team, you will find a way. That's the most important thing. I never think for myself, it's always about what the team needs. Test cricket, one-day cricket … the will should be to win the game for your country."

The two sides next meet in the final T20 encounter at Bengaluru on Sunday. The first match was washed out in Dharamsala.

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