Colombo: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni branded his team’s World Twenty20 campaign as “satisfactory” despite their failure to reach the semi-finals.
Dhoni also rued the rain that affected his side’s opening Super Eight game against Australia, when the damp conditions hindered his spin bowlers’ ability to grip the ball during the nine-wicket defeat.
India crashed out of the competition on net run-rate behind Australia and Pakistan despite beating South Africa by one run on Tuesday night. Afterwards Dhoni said: “As far as the tournament is concerned, I think it was a satisfactory performance. We didn’t know the other match [Pakistan beating Australia] would impact our progress so much.
“Of course we knew that there would be a little bit of an impact on whether we progress, but the margin in the first match was so big that we had a problem.
“We wanted to field first and try and overhaul the target in 15 or 16 overs — that’s why we played the extra batsman. But the difference was quite high and we were batting first. Batting first, you don’t know what is a good score.”
After racking up 152 for 6 from their innings, India knew they had to keep South Africa below 121 if they were to make the semi-finals. The Proteas easily got past that mark and ended up losing by just one run.
“We wanted to go after them initially and we wanted to use the new ball. I knew that if our fast bowlers can swing it a bit and get those early breakthroughs in the first six overs, then we could put pressure on through the spinners,” Dhoni said.
“We got the breakthroughs, but they batted quite well and one of the overs from Rohit [Sharma] went for runs.
“I knew that 120 runs was quite a low target to defend. We won the game by only one run so it is difficult to say whether if a few strategies were changed we could have defeated them big.”
When Dhoni was asked whether his team needs overhauling, the India skipper struggled to maintain his calm demeanour. “I think the same question was asked in Australia. It is one question that always arises if you haven’t done well,” he said.
“Please look at the performances in this tournament so far as to where we lost, We lost just one game badly and all of you have been reporting cricket for a long time — we all know what impact rain has on bowlers, especially spinners [referring to Australia match].
“Our bowlers don’t bowl at 140kph-plus so let us get practical about what the reason was and ask ‘was it the fault of the players?’. It is not, it can happen in this format. And when you are at a stage where other games involving other teams can affect you, you don’t want that kind of situation. But sometimes you are forced to accept what is pushed on you.”