India endured a heavy defeat in the third T20I at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday (March 16). The hosts got off to a dreadful start after being put in to bat first as opening batsman KL Rahul was dismissed for a duck in the very first over of the match.

Rahul, who performed brilliantly with the bat last year, has been going through a lean patch with scores of 1, 0, 0 in his last three T20Is.

After the match, when Kohli was asked about his views on Rahul’s form, the Indian skipper said that KL is a ‘champion’ player and it’s just a matter of five-six balls (to regain form) in this format.

“He (KL Rahul) has been a champions player. He’ll continue to be one of our main players along with Rohit at the top of the order. It’s a matter of five-six balls in this format,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.

The 32-year-old added that he too was going through such a phase before his two consecutive fifties. Kohli was dismissed for a duck in India’s fourth Test and first T20I against England.

“I was going through a lean patch two days back,” the right-handed batsman, who scored an unbeaten 77 off 46 balls in the third T20I to guide India to a respectable total – 156/6.

Speaking about the pitch and the result of the match, Kohli said: “It was a bit difficult to bat against the new ball. Their bowlers were hitting good areas. We got one little partnership, it was important for me to bat deep. The case was to get set and try to get a decent total.”

The Delhi-lad also hailed the visitors’ pace bowling unit, which restricted India to 24/3 in the powerplay overs.

“You don’t want to play knocks which don’t help the team in any way. It was a bit difficult to bat against the new ball. Their bowlers were hitting good areas. The England bowlers attacked right lines and lengths and with their pace, they became more potent,” concluded Kohli.

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