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Bittersweet end to Kohli’s T20 captaincy

Virat Kohli has ended his stint as India’s 20-overs captain on a winning note, beating Namibia by nine wickets in the Twenty20 World Cup.

However, with the team already eliminated following wins for New Zealand and Pakistan on Sunday, Monday’s match was a dead rubber.

Kohli’s bid to lead the inaugural champions to their second Twenty20 World Cup title was effectively over after the comprehensive defeats by those teams, who are the semi-final qualifiers from Group II.

Conversely Namibia return home happy despite another thrashing having achieved more than they had anticipated.

Spin duo Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin split six wickets to restrict debutants Namibia to 8-132 after being inserted at the Dubai International Stadium.

Rohit Sharma (56) and KL Rahul (54 not out) smashed brisk fifties as India prevailed in the 16th over.

“It’s been an honour, but things have to be seen in the right perspective,” Kohli said after the consolation win.

“I thought this was the right time for me to manage my workload,” added Kohli, who also leads India in Tests and ODIs, as well as being the team’s batting mainstay.

“It’s been six-seven years of intense cricket. Every time you take the field, it takes a lot out of you.

“We were not brave enough in the first two games, we suffered because of that. We knew that afterwards it would be complicated for us to go through.”

It was also the last match for head coach Ravi Shastri, who will be succeeded by former test stalwart Rahul Dravid.

“When I took this job, I said in my mind that I want to make a difference. And I think I have,” Shastri said before the match.

“I think in Rahul Dravid they’ve got a guy who has inherited a great team and with his stature and experience, it can only raise the bar.”

Namibia qualified for the Super 12s for the first time after progressing from the first stage, then defeated Scotland to cap an impressive debut at this level despite several heavy defeats.

Captain Gerhard Erasmus said: “Quick turnarounds mean we haven’t been able to soak in the experience. Only once we get back we’ll realise we played at an awesome level of cricket and we managed to compete, so if we can keep playing in tournaments like this cricket can only grow.

“We can take a lot of positives individually and as a team we’ll take this experience as a whole. Hopefully this lays the foundations for us to take the next step.”

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