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February 1, 2008
Mahendra Singh Dhoni says India's batsmen need to rethink their roles in the team after the side was bundled out for 74 in a nine-wicket Twenty20 loss to Australia. Irfan Pathan was the only man who reached double-figures and Dhoni said early wickets meant too many players were forced into unfamiliar tactics.
"We ended up [in a situation where] players who should have played their strokes were [forced to] play some other game, and guys who should have stayed there and given the strokeplayers a base played their shots and got out," Dhoni said. The typically aggressive Dhoni had to attempt a rescue mission after India wobbled to 5 for 32, but could only manage a watchful 9 from 27 balls. Before Dhoni departed, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa were both caught when they aimed over the infield and Rohit Sharma was bowled trying to pull a delivery that was much too full.
"Somewhere in the middle, they forgot their roles and responsibilities in the team," Dhoni said. "We lost too many early wickets, and in the middle overs it was really hard to determine whether to go after the bowlers or just rotate the strike because on a wicket like this you cannot really defend 120 runs."
Dhoni was confident the loss would not affect his team's mindset ahead of the CB Series, though his counterpart Michael Clarke said Australia now had the momentum. Clarke said as much as India's mistakes, it was Australia's precision that earned them their first Twenty20 win against the world champions.
"The way we prepared, studied the Indian batsmen over the last few Twenty20s that they've played, I think our preparation was spot on and our execution was exactly how we wanted it," Clarke said. Australia and India now travel to Brisbane for the opening tri-series game on Sunday.
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