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BCCI Staff in Mumbai 07 April 2014 - 11:24am IST

Yuvraj tried his best: Dhoni

Skipper refuses to put the blame of losing the final on struggling all-rounder

MS Dhoni put India’s loss to Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 final to their poor batting in the middle-order. He also said scoring only 19 runs in the last four overs hurt the team’s cause in the end.

Dhoni said his batsmen tried their best to get the runs flowing but were held back by some fine bowling from Sri Lanka. The Indian captain rued that none of his batsmen with the exception of Virat Kohli looked in fluent touch.

The captain, however, defended under-fire Yuvraj Singh, who scored a painstaking 11 runs off 21 balls and has looked out of sorts in all matches but the one against Australia.

"It was an off day for Yuvraj,” Dhoni said. “He tried his best but it's not easy to come in and start slogging from ball one," When asked about Yuvraj’s future in the Indian team, Dhoni said, "Indian cricket season is over...The next selection is far away, so let's not talk about it."

Talking about the angry reactions from the fans towards Yuvraj’s non-performance, Dhoni said, "Look, you need to understand that fans can be angry but they can't be more disappointed than the individual who is out there in the middle.

"As a player, you don't want to do badly in front of 40,000 people. You don't want to drop catches, but off-days happen. And it can happen with any athlete. May be it was an off-day for him [Yuvraj]. "Fans will be disappointed but it is the player who is always more disappointed than the fans,”

Dhoni also refused to put the blame solely on Yuvraj for the team’s below par score of 130 and said the Lankans deserved credit for their disciplined bowling.

"It's a team thing. So let us not talk about individuals. We wanted to score as many runs as possible in the last four overs but credit to Lankan bowlers. They bowled perfect wide yorkers. I, for one, know that Malinga bowls these superb wide yorkers. They got only one wide during that phase. They executed their plans brilliantly.

"We were a bit disappointed at the break for not having scored more than 130 but then we were thinking about Champions Trophy. It was also a 20-over match but here we had one fielder more outside the circle," the skipper said.

Dhoni has, in the past, successfully opened the bowling with R Ashwin, but he chose not to adopt that plan in this game. When asked why, he said, "We wanted to use Ashwin in the middle overs against left-handers. So we couldn't start with him. But the pacers went for runs and I had to bring him early and he also got a wicket. Also the wicket changed a bit under lights as the ball started coming onto the bat.”

Taking the positives out from the tournament, Dhoni said he was glad with the team’s consistency throughout the tournament and was particularly chuffed with his spinners’ performance.

"The spinners have bowled well as they got a bit of help and turn from the track. Virat has been brilliant for us as he has been in the last one and half years and even more. We were consistent from start and hence there weren't too many changes in the playing XI."