Should have won this game: Dhoni
Adelaide, Feb 14: The fifth match of the CB Series between India and Sri Lanka culminated in a tie after India matched Lanka’s total of 236. India skipper MS Dhoni once again remained unbeaten, with his valuable 58 ensuring that both teams shared honours at the end of the thriller. The right-hander had mixed feelings about the result of the contest.
Excerpts from his post-match interview:
On being involved in close matches
I think that wrong call really cost us the game; I called a wrong one to Gautam [Gambhir] and he got out. After that it was difficult for the new batsmen coming in because there was no real pace on the wicket. Basically it made it very difficult to rotate [the strike]. You could play a big stroke in between but at the same time you [feel] that if you play a big stroke and a wicket falls, you don’t really have anyone [to follow] you who can bat really well.
On his mental approach while chasing
[Staying at the crease till the end] is what I look to do; you can’t always do it, but what’s important is to stay there till the end. Batting at No. 6, there aren’t too many batsmen behind you. If you are finding it difficult to score, there is no good reason the new batsman will find it easy to score, whatever the wicket. It is a difficult decision to make; it’s always good if you are there till the end with a decent partnership going. To win games consistently, you want batsmen to bat till the end.
On having to attack in the 49th over of the chase, considering Malinga would bowl the last over
That’s one of the reasons we went after [Angelo Matthews]. [Lasith] Malinga is someone who is really consistent—with his slingy action it is very difficult to hit him consistently. With the new or the old ball, he executes really well, especially with a lower-order batsman. We went after Matthews and we got some runs in that over.
On whether he thought he had hit a boundary off the last ball
It was really difficult because I had not really middled it and with the arch with which it went and with the slow outfield, [it was difficult]. Maybe in India it would have gone over the boundary, but over here it’s difficult.
On Sri Lanka being tough competitors
They’ve got all-rounders who can bat lower down the order which gives them the option of having too many bowlers if needed. With the slow wicket, the part-timers can bowl spin bowling. If they need a seamer, there are bowlers who can give them that stability. Malinga is a bowler who can bowl well with the new or the old ball, so it’s a very good side.
On whether he enjoys close encounters
If you are there too many times, then you get used to it slightly but being human you will feel the pressure, especially when you are about to get in. Once you get in and you know the pace of the wicket, it gets slightly easy. But at the end, with 10 or 12 runs needed in the last over, the heart rate is bound to go up. It’s not something you can avoid but if you can keep it under control, it’s good. I just try to do it. I’m going through a decent phase in ODI cricket at the moment, so I am looking to do it for the side. If I can’t then someone else will.
On his ability to stay calm under pressure
Once you are off the field it’s very important to switch off from cricket. We tried our best to win this game but it didn’t go in our favour and ended in a draw. We should have won this game, but later on we were in a position where we could have lost the game. So overall we’re happy with the result.
On whether this was a lost opportunity for India
We saw both sides of the coin today. With two points each, both teams have won this game. Not really disappointed, but as I said, we should have won this game.
On whether the run-outs of Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir cost India the win
It wouldn’t have been really easy because the wicket was on the slower side and they brought the fielders up and bowled a very tight line, which meant you had to go for a big shot to put the pressure on them. If you are batting first you can look to do that, but if you are chasing, the game dictates terms to you. If you lose one wicket at that point of time, you may have lost the game. Gautam [Gambhir] and I were batting well, I gave a wrong call and Gautam got out. Otherwise with him and me on the crease, I think would have won the game quite easily.
On changing bats during his innings
That’s a slogging bat; it’s different from the bat I start with. The bat that I bat with is heavy, it’s not light. But the one that I use for slogging is the real heavy one.