South Africa v India, 5th ODI, Centurion

Dhoni pleased with end-over bowling

Sidharth Monga at SuperSport Park

January 23, 2011

Comments: 128 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni has said that the bowling in the end overs and the late-order hitting of Yusuf Pathan have been the big positives for India to come out of the ODI series. Apart from that, Virat Kohli has been the only plus from a batting order than Dhoni said "struggled throughout the series".

"In the last few overs, the bowlers used their variations well," Dhoni said. "We don't have express bowlers, but we have got bowlers with skills. That's what they rely on. It was a satisfactory performance, but both the teams were struggling throughout the series when it comes to the middle order, which means both couldn't really get a prolonged slog. So that may be the reason bowlers did well in the death. [However], if we bowl like this in the World Cup, I'll be really pleased."

A stunning 68-ball century from Yusuf Pathan pulled India back into a game in which their batting looked painfully similar to how it did on day one of the tour, when they were bowled out for 136. Yusuf's form and the presence of other big hitters in the middle order give Dhoni a lot of confidence. "The biggest positive out of this game is that when we go into the World Cup, we will know that in the last 10 overs we can chase anything if we have wickets in hand. That lesson is more important than just the loss of the game."

Dhoni defended the top order's approach of going for their shots, which did look reckless. "It's a part and parcel of cricket. When you get off to a start where you get 28 runs in 10 overs for the loss of one wicket, then you are asked why there was no hurry. At the end of the day we were supposed to chase close to six runs an over. It's always a difficult task. You want to take the opposition on. At times you lose wickets, and that's what happened in this game."

Dhoni also defended his decision of bowling first despite picking an extra spinner in the side. It was an understandable decision, considering the rain in the air, but picking an extra spinner showed some confusion in the mindset. "Last time we played here we discussed that whatever the Centurion track has for the bowlers is in the initial period. After that, as the day progresses, it gets slightly better to bat on. And that's what happened in the 2006 series also. The wicket was very similar."

Dhoni thought the target was still chaseable, and lamented the form of some of the batsmen. "Throughout the series our batting department has not really scored a lot of runs. It's Virat who has done well, and down the order it's Yusuf. Still to be in a position like this, it's a good team effort, but we really need to perform as a unit."

However, Dhoni is confident the batsmen will return to form in the World Cup. "It's a matter of one or two innings, and some of the batsmen didn't get enough preparation time, which means quality batting practice sessions. A run of low scores does play on your mind, but it's not that the experienced players haven't gone through phases like these. It always happens in cricket. Especially, with us. We play 30 to 35 ODIs a year. We see the form going up and down in the same year, which means we are more used to dealing with situations like these."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (January 25, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

very funny to see diri is afraid of Indian part timers like his team. SA can't even dream about WC with this ability. Every time they hyped as probables and not yet in to the finals.

Posted by diri on (January 25, 2011, 10:57 GMT)

Very intresting to see many of the Indian fans have lost faith in their team even tho this series was in total different conditions to the world cup....did Steyn and co strike fear into yourl?? are SA the favorites? I still think SA have some work to do in order to lift the cup

Posted by   on (January 25, 2011, 10:29 GMT)

wow Mr. Dhoni thinks the death over wickets after getting to 220 plus very good when he knew that any thing above 200 his boys would struggle to get against Steyn, Morkel and Co. He should have included Sree Santh instead of Chawla to make sure both Zaheer and Sree get some wickets up front! Or Sree comes at 1st change to take couple of wickets! Mr. Dhoni's personal bias towards certain players like Sree Santh will cost India dearly at WC! now bowling wise India is not a contender at all at the world cup!!.Its going to be between Aus , Pak , Sri Lanka and SA who will take the cup.

Posted by Cricket.Nellore on (January 25, 2011, 8:03 GMT)

@diri: Hey where did i say, Indian Luck, I said may be Dhoni is lucky of winning much games and also he is leading one of the better teams of India

Posted by wincrick on (January 25, 2011, 6:29 GMT)

Yes. We did well in the end overs in the last odi but again it was the batsmen who threw it away. Yes, the conditions were difficult but players like Raina, Rohit, Dhoni should have shown application and courage to stay at the wicket and take on the bowlers just like YUsuf Pathan did. They should have atleast given support to Pathan and who knows had any of the above players stayed with Yousuf we may have won the game.

Abhijith Radhakrishnan

Posted by   on (January 25, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

drop yuvi and get back dravid

Posted by diri on (January 25, 2011, 5:42 GMT)

Cricket.Nellore you talk about luck...well India won matches on this whole tour by luck and umpires:) so dont be to harsh on MS

Posted by   on (January 25, 2011, 4:11 GMT)

wow Mr. Dhoni thinks the death over wickets after getting to 220 plus very good when he knew that any thing above 200 his boys would struggle to get against Steyn, Morkel and Co. He should have included Sree Santh instead of Chawla to make sure both Zaheer and Sree get some wickets up front! Or Sree comes at 1st change to take couple of wickets! Mr. Dhoni's personal bias towards certain players like Sree Santh will cost India dearly at WC! now bowling wise India is not a contender at all at the world cup!!.Its going to be between Aus , Pak , Sri Lanka and SA who will take the cup.

Posted by   on (January 25, 2011, 3:20 GMT)

i agree with dhoni, every team has chance to win a world cup. consistent performance matters...

Posted by Nampally on (January 25, 2011, 1:00 GMT)

Dhoni himself needs to find his own form. He has been a big disappointment with the bat in SA series.He appears to be tired and must take a couple of weeks of complete break before resuming. Besides his batting, his team selection and bowling changes need to be more rational. Six bowlers in first 15 overs will not give chance to any bowler to settle. He will have almost the same bowling squad he had in SA. He never used Ashwin, easily the best bowler capable of taking wickets in this squad. Will he again make him warm the bench in the WC? Nehra is not the bowler to be relied upon and Dhoni keeps using him to the detriment of the team.Fortunately with the return of Kumar, Nehra will be put in the back burner. India definitely need 4 regular bowlers. Since Spin is the main strength of India, both Ashwin & Harbhajan must play with yuvraj the LH spinner.Then Zaheer + one more pace bowler.Bowlers must be most economical & the side which can do so + bat 250 runs consistently will win the WC.

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