Mohali, March 31 (IANS) India’s coach Gary Kirsten picked left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra for fullsome praise for playing an important role in the World Cup semifinal victory against Pakistan here Wednesday.
Nehra had struggled with fitness in the league matches and then had a bad match against South Africa, where he conceded 13 runs in the last over. He finally struck form against Pakistan here where he took two wickets and gave only 33 runs in 10 overs.
“We got a bit lucky to get to 260. It was a competitive total as it was getting more and more difficult to bat. But all credit to bowlers the way they took the pace off the ball,” Kirsten said.
The coach said the team think-tank thought three seamers would be a right combination for the Mohali wicket.
“We all thought three seamers would be the right combination. But the wicket slowed down. All credit to Nehra the way be bowled today. He has not played many games and today in the pressure game he delivered,” said Kirsten.
“In fact, both Nehra and Munaf were fantastic with the ball.”
“It was a great performance by the team. Now we have won two really good games, one with the bat against Australia and one with the ball against Pakistan.”
Asked how he sees the rivalry of India-Pakistan as an outsider, Kirsten said “Got a taste of the game. Everybody was fired up. The players were ready to go out there and give their best. They were determined and at the same time calm before the match.”
The final against Sri Lanka would be Kirsten’s last match as Indian coach.
“It is a great occasion for everyone. I am honoured to be with the Indian team. The players are fantastic. We have to be at the top of our game in the final in Mumbai,” he said.