India v South Africa, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Colombo October 2, 2012

India 'satisfactory' despite early exit - Dhoni


MS Dhoni, speaking with a catch in his voice that betrayed his acute disappointment, has called for a "practical" assessment of India's failure to make the knockouts of the World Twenty20 for the third successive time. Dhoni said it was important to remember that India had lost only one game during the tournament, against Australia, and he maintained that rain during that match had handicapped his bowlers.

"The same question was asked when we lost in England and Australia," Dhoni said when asked whether the side needed an overhaul after recent failures. "This is one question that arises when we have not done well but just see the performance in this tournament. We lost one game and lost it badly.

"We all know what impact rain has on the bowlers, especially spinners and bowlers who don't bowl 140 [kph] plus. Let's get practical about what the reason was and then assess if it's the fault of the players. It is not. It can happen in this format. You are at the stage where other games are having an impact. You don't want that kind of situation to happen but sometimes you are just forced to accept what is pushed on to you."

India had to beat South Africa by at least 31 runs to qualify for the semi-finals ahead of Pakistan on net run-rate and Dhoni said that was too steep a difference to achieve. Overall, Dhoni said India's showing in the tournament was acceptable. "The performance was otherwise satisfactory. We didn't think that the other match [Pakistan v Australia] would impact us so much. We knew that it would affect us but the required margin while winning was too big so we had a problem."

Dhoni said going into the game, India's plan was to restrict South Africa and chase the target with a few overs to spare. "As per the equation our strategy was to field first and then score whatever the target at a fast pace, 15 or 16 overs. So that is why we thought that if we play an extra batsman that would be helpful for us. We needed to win by a margin of 30-odd runs so [I] was not so comfortable while making the strategy because when you are batting first you don't know what is a good score."

During South Africa's chase, India were relying on the fast bowlers to get them early wickets, Dhoni said. "We wanted to make use of the new ball initially. I knew that if our fast bowlers could swing it a bit and get those early breakthroughs in the first six overs, then we could put pressure through the spinners. But if we tried the other way around, it is more than certain that if the fast bowlers come on later, it will be difficult for them to get batsmen out unless they play a rash shot. We started with fast bowlers, got the breakthroughs, but then they batted quite well and Rohit's (Sharma) over went for runs. But 120 was quite a low target to defend. We won this game by one run, so it is difficult to say that if a few strategies had been changed, we could have defeated them big."

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • narbavi on October 5, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    @Janahitha: Lol,i really feel pity for you, your team is the one which struggles like hell in overseas conditions, you need proof?? your team hasn't won a single test in Australia, infact not a single test in india too, and not a single series in england, whereas you make fun of us,

  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    I seriously think Indian took this very easily... since they came here as favorites... that 5 mins rain could not made a huge difference.... most importantly Indian team was the only team who played all their matches at same venue... so they had the most out of it. they knew each & everything of that wicket.... it was a silly excuse from a captain like Dhoni... what i think is Indians took this very easily & they depended on other teams to keep them up. all teams knew how the game will be played & points are awarded, so then why they didnt play according to that? from the begining AUS & PAK was on top of the points table... so Dhoni shouldn't be blaming anyone else than him self & his team....!! they have played so much in Sri lanka & specially most of their matches at R. Premadasa stadium, they knew the pitch almost same like Sri lankans did... so please no excuses.. dew factor is a well known thing in India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka... so you were prepared for it......!!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Dhoni must realize that being satisfactory is not good enough at this level. We're not playing U11 cricket for Gods sake. Dhoni needs to make room for the next captain!

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    India really missed yousuf pathan......

  • bradmann on October 4, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    What dhoni satisfied? then why he is travelling to srilanka for wt20.. We all know win or loss is part of the game but answers like these will irritate indian fans definitely, india does not make semis last 3 T20 world cup under DHONI and he is tellling answers like this "I m satisfied" ,"because of rain we lost" "select horses for courses" we all know dhoni won us 2011 50 over world cup and a fantastic 50 over player but not t20 specialist , look at his t20 int stats nothing impressive...dhoni better retire in t20

  • Srikanth on October 4, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    When Ganguly's team lost in the Final of 2003 world cup, the whole country was proud of the team's achievement of being runners up. Coz, people had seen a fighting team. Losing is not a issue, but losing with such huge margins without giving a fight hurts. And blaming rain after that is foolishness. At the start of Super 8, Dhoni knew that we had to be the top two among Aus, Pak, SA and Ind. And he failed to achieve it. Thats it. Aus, SL and Pak too have won 4 of their 5 matches. The reality is they played better than us to be qualified.

  • Manesh on October 4, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    @Janahitha. But that's enough for us to beat SL in all around the world. So who is 'Useless boys'?

  • VINODK on October 4, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    It was Dhoni's tactical blunders that were a major factor in India's exit. Like Bedi said he has got an extremely long rope. He should stop making silly excuses like rain etc and admit that we weren't good enough

  • Vigram on October 4, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    I seriously wonder where all these critics were when we were on high. Just one game failure shouldn't attract so many criticism. First remember they are INDIANS who WANTS INDIAN team to WIN. They don't go out there to loose. Dhoni had proved himself and is not in need of the advice of those people who can't even stand for 30 mins on that playing field.

  • kks on October 4, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    @ Janahitha can you please tell me where did india win 2007 world t20, cb series 2008 or simply world cup 1983

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