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IPL experience will help in World T20: Dhoni

Skipper does not think lack of T20 internationals will hamper India’s chances

India's captain MS Dhoni batting during match 2 of the ANZ One Day International Cricket Series. New Zealand Black Caps v India at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday 22 January 2014. Photo: Bruce Lim / www.Photosport.co.nz

As he prepares to lead Team India to the 2014 World Twenty20, MS Dhoni is confident the IPL experience will come in handy to his players. Despite not having played a T20I since October 2013, Dhoni is not worried about the lack of practice in the shortest format.

"Most of the teams, if you see, don't play a lot of T20s," Dhoni said in Dhaka in his first press conference ahead of the tournament. "Especially with the kind of schedule we have, I don't think we'll be able to accommodate more than one or two T20s [per series]. That is something that I will always face.

"At the same time, we have got the IPL where we have played with the best players and the standard there is as high as international standards so that really amounts to the experience we need."

"We will be playing two warm-up matches (against Sri Lanka and England) also and we will try out all the players in the squad for various combinations. All the players will get a chance and we will get the opportunity to know what is the best for the team," he said.

Citing the example of India’s early exit from the last edition of World Twenty20, Dhoni cautioned his team to take each game as the most important game of the tournament.

"Our group is quite a competitive one so all the matches will be important," Dhoni said. "Especially when you consider our performance in the last edition of the World T20 where we exited from the tournament after losing just one game. We have a couple of warm-up games before our first game so we'll be looking towards using those warm-ups to sort out our team's balance."

Dhoni said this tournament will be an opportunity for his team to get back on the winning track after the winless tours of South Africa and New Zealand and the tough Asia Cup.

"I think we have had to endure tough times recently but even in these situations it's not like we hadn't played good cricket," he said. "If you look at our Test performances away from home since 2011 you will see that our displays haven't been up to the mark. In the last two away series [against South Africa and New Zealand] we have shown that we have talent though we lost both the series. So I think we are on the way up, and that's where you want to be. There is always pressure."

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Roundup: Vijay Hazare Trophy, SFs

Karnataka reach finals with 21-run win

A century by Robin Uthappa, followed by a four-wicket haul by captain Vinay Kumar, helped Karnataka reach the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. They will be gearing up to claim their third domestic title of the 2013-14 season on Sunday, March 16. Ishank Jaggi’s ton went in vain as Jharkhand were nudged out of the tournament. Here are the highlights of the day:

Karnataka vs Jharkhand: The Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup winners, Karnataka, beat Jharkhand by 21 runs in Kolkata to enter the final. Inserted to bat first, Karnataka were powered to a mammoth 323 for six by their in-form opener Uthappa. The opening pair of Uthappa and Mayank Agarwal laid the platform with a 137-run partnership which ended in a run out. Agarwal departed for 66, but the dismissal did not bring much relief to Jharkhand as Lokesh Rahul picked up where the opener had left. Uthappa went on to make 133 before being sent back by Jaskaran Singh in the 42nd over. 31 runs later, Lokesh Rahul was bowled for 67 by Rahul Shukla. In the next over, with Karnataka getting past the 300-run mark, Manish Pandey was sent back by Kushal Singh. While they piled on runs, Karnataka lost wickets in the death overs. In the last over, Karun Nair and captain Vinay Kumar were both sent back by Shukla.

A determined 121-ball 141 by opener Ishank Jaggi then kept Jharkhand in the fray even as the middle order crumbled against the rampaging Vinay Kumar-led attack. The Karnataka captain dealt a crucial double-blow when he removed Kaushal Singh and Shahbaz Nadeem in the same over to leave Jharkhand faltering on 260 for six. Chasing the large total, there was little support for Jaggi. However, Saurabh Tiwary supplemented the opener's magnificent knock with a 47 of his own before perishing to Abhimanyu Mithun soon after Jaggi’s departure. Jaggi was castled by HS Sharath a few overs before Tiwary returned to the pavilion. The lower-order made their way past 300, but were restricted to 302 for nine by the Karnataka attack. The captain finished with a four-for, while Mithun claimed three and Sharath and Abrar Kazi picked a wicket each.