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November 5, 2009
After a close, emotional three-run defeat to Australia in Hyderabad, MS Dhoni said that India lost the mental battle, falling at the last hurdle. "You work so hard to get to a well, but then you have to drink the water yourself," he said. "We came very close, but the one last effort that we needed as a team we couldn't put in.
"I don't think it was the talent part. I think it was the mental part, where you know you can play a big shot and you back yourself to do that," Dhoni said. "At times you just go through the motions, you don't know if such a shot is needed or not."
Dhoni rued three dropped chances and a lack of experience in the bowling line-up. Shaun Marsh, who was put down on 29 and on 51, went on to get a maiden century, while Shane Watson's drop cost India just three runs. "We dropped three catches. One of them was tough," Dhoni said. "We lost too many wickets in the middle order. Myself, Gauti [Gautam Gambhir], Yuvraj [Singh], we got out pretty quickly. We could have done better. Though it was a very good track to bat, you still need a serious effort to get close to 350. If we had stopped them to 330 or 325, we would have had a better chance.
"I am not saying they could have kept them to 270, but even if they could have kept them down to 320, it would have been a completely different game. On these wickets, when there is no seam or swing, experience comes in."
It was all left to Sachin Tendulkar to chase down the target and he almost carried India home with an imperious 141-ball 175. He fell with India needing 19 runs off the last 17 balls, but the last three wickets couldn't manage that. Dhoni said the team believed Praveen Kumar could pull off the chase even as they were in the middle of a choke.
"Till the last wicket fell, we had hope. Of course it was disheartening. He [Tendulkar] made such a big effort. Such a big score. He was the one man who kept us in the game. We would have loved to see him hit the winning runs. But that was not to be."
Dhoni had words of comfort for Ravindra Jadeja, who for the second night in a row got himself run out in a crucial situation. "He is a youngster, don't take that away from him," Dhoni said. "When he plays more and more games, he will learn. It is tough, but he shouldn't be pointed out. He is doing the job for us. He is bowling well, he is a great fielder. He is learning the art of batting at this level. As long as he keeps learning from every game, it is fine."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi