ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali

India well prepared for pressure games - Dhoni

Sharda Ugra at the PCA Stadium

March 30, 2011

Comments: 186 | Text size: A | A

One of the most important benefits from India's scrappy World Cup semi-final victory over Pakistan - apart from the sound and sight of a hundred firecrackers going out around the PCA stadium on a Mohali night and the adoration of millions - is their team's sense of being in what captain MS Dhoni equated to a good spell.

Dhoni said the format of the World Cup had helped the Indians get to a stage just before the final where off-field distractions and on-field pressures could both be handled. "The format really helped us. We have had quite a few close games where we were tested. Some of the youngsters were tested. They were at the crease at a time when a big performance was needed from them. Slowly they are getting into the groove."

Dhoni said India's performances in the knockouts had given the team a greater sense of comfort going into the final, with regard to the pressures of the event. He compared the last week of the World Cup to a bowler bowling at more than 150kph. "Once you do that you don't think whether you are bowling 155 or 160. So I think after the semis, the final won't feel much different. The feeling (of the importance of a game) has been static for a while and hopefully that will really help us."

In the semi-final, Dhoni said the Indians had read the wicket incorrectly in deciding to opt for a 3-1 attack, replacing offspinner R Ashwin with left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra. It was driven, he said, by India's part-time options as well as Pakistani batsmen generally being at ease against spin. "We can manoeuvre with the part-timers. We thought on a normal Mohali pitch, you don't see assistance to spinners. The ball doesn't turn big time. Here the ball was stopping.

Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina and Munaf Patel celebrate after India ended up winners, India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali, March 30, 2011
India have developed a familiarity with that winning feeling in two knockout games this World Cup © Getty Images

"I felt it was better to go with safer option, but we went with a safe option and misread the wicket."

The Indians, Dhoni said, had paced their innings against Pakistan well, particularly when compared to how they had handled the World Cup's middle and end overs prior to this game. The track, he said, became slower at the halfway stage, and with the Pakistanis bowling tight and India losing Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh off consecutive deliveries, it had become difficult to rotate the strike. "Their spinners bowled really well, even Mohammad Hafeez was able to capitalise." The innings calculation had then been tempered down. "After losing two wickets in the middle overs it is important to bat 50 overs in big games, you shouldn't look to score 300-320. If the wicket is behaving in a different way, re-adjust your target."

Dhoni said he had thought India's total of 260 was "a good score not a safe score" and India's immediate target had been to "not give away runs with the new ball."

All that Dhoni was willing to comment on about the first-ever all-Asian World Cup final to be held on April 2 was to praise the Sri Lankans for their progress through the tournament. India he said, "have also really been tested more often than not and it will be a really good game. It's not about what your rating is but how good you are on the day. You have to be at your best."

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 186 
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Posted by Padmanabha on (April 2, 2011, 20:47 GMT)

"India's scrappy World Cup semi-final " - What an appropriate title. - You seem to be finding the right words to describe a fighting game.

Posted by Bangalore on (April 1, 2011, 15:51 GMT)

Sri Lanka maybe in the finals but they have just beaten NZ twice and England once, the rest of their wins are all non-test playing nations. They lost to PAK and their AUS match was washed out. India on the other hand tied ENG, lost a close match to SA, beat WI, AUS and PAK. Also in the last 10 years Sri Lanka has won just 3 matches in India. They have won most of their matches in SL or neutral venue. The fact that India had major batting collapses and still tied ENG and almost beat SA shows that India despite its defects is still a very strong team.

Posted by BR on (April 1, 2011, 12:52 GMT)

Preparation for pressure games is key in the final. SL dont have a good record in IND, but they have an excellent big game record. So the final should be a cracker! Read our prediction by searching for predictive analytics in cricket.

Posted by Thamizh on (April 1, 2011, 11:30 GMT)

Against Pak, India fielding got improved a lot, may be they realised the importance of each one of their role properly at the right time. They should keep up the momentem as it is. Srilanka are better known for their under play, their spinners are not a great turners of the ball (Murali is exceptional). They use to skid the ball, they will be targetting LBW mostly.

Most improtantly, Dhoni should come as a last recongnised batsman even after Harbhajan. Since he is finding difficult even against a part time spinner, this is the right time, to leave all the superior n ego atleast for our dream match.

Please look at the post match presentation speeches, Dhoni never ever admitted about his bad batting form, rather he is pinpointing the fileders and pitch. If raina can score 38 runs after Dhoni, y can't dhoni. Please change ur attitude.

In a press meet he told, his form is not a concern, then y yousuf n sreesanth form should be a concern. B fair on ur statement.

Posted by pagal on (April 1, 2011, 11:05 GMT)

@dalersinghazrot that was kolkata n not mumbai i wept wid kambli in that match

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 1, 2011, 9:13 GMT)

All The Way,,,,, Celebrations Tomorrow,,,, We Will Win....

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 1, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

Tendulkar, Yuvaraj, Raina & Sehwag have done well so far. Now, it is for Dhoni to prove with batting. Mere good captaincy does not help team to win. We need a century from him..

Posted by Venkat on (April 1, 2011, 8:25 GMT)

Gone are the days of Aussie kind of domination.. last three events it was like , who will the Aussies beat to win the cup..! India has a slight edge,,as we see that Lanka has not done very well in India recently,, plus India have won 3 out of 4 major tournaments in Lanka..

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 1, 2011, 8:23 GMT)

Kohli and Raina fielded well. Indian bowling was really good. What a difference from previous matches? Dhoni's Captaincy is really appreciable. All the best India. India will win the world cup.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 1, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

I think we were thoroughly professional on field in the SF, fielding was good (could be better) and bowling was excellent. Striking feature was that we hardly gave any free runs, i guess 1st leg bye came in after 30th over. We should be proud of this achievement and hope that we would do better in finals. @radhegee: It's absolutely ridiculous to say that ganguly is jealous of dhoni's success, i mean after all these proud moments how can one even think about such a thing.Ganguly was only doing a commentator's job and he said what he felt was right in the context of the game, moreover if he has to show his jealousy then national channel would be his last option. Don't you think so.

Let's all Cheer in unison "INDIAAAAAAAAAAAA INDIA" and Let's FINISH it off, like we started... :)

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