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July 12, 2013
India batsman Rohit Sharma has said his team's victory in the tri-series final against Sri Lanka came as no surprise to the dressing room, despite the pressure of the last over, as it always had confidence in captain MS Dhoni, who has "done it over and over for us". Dhoni said that he wasn't panicking either, using his "good cricketing sense" to deal with the situation.
"I think I am blessed with a bit of good cricketing sense. I thought 15 runs was something that I could look for [in the final over], the reason being the opposition's bowler was not someone who is very experienced," Dhoni said after the match. "So I thought, rather than taking on a Malinga or a Mathews, I'd take it to the end, and it really worked in our favour."
India were on course in their chase of 202 while on 139 for 3 in the 32nd over. But Sri Lanka fought back with a flurry of wickets, mainly through Rangana Herath, leaving India tottering at 167 for 8. Dhoni, returning from a hamstring injury for this match, turned down a few singles, and was content to play out Mathews and Malinga. That left India needing 15 runs off Shaminda Eranga's final over and Dhoni, after a change of bat, won it with two balls to spare.
Dhoni said he was looking for a heavier bat to get those final hits away. "That was a 2kg bat, a very heavy bat, it was needed at that point of time. Apart from it being a very good bat, I think the weight of the bat was perfect also."
Rohit, who set up the innings with a battling 58, said the pitch was quite tricky: "The wicket was not easy to play shots on, so I just wanted to delay my shots [and] bat till the end, but unfortunately it didn't happen. But it came out really well in the end.
"Dhoni has done it over and over for us, so we were all positive in the dressing room. We've seen him doing it for many years now. This wasn't any surprise."
Sri Lanka's captain, Angelo Mathews, said his team did well to stretch India as much as they did. "Our bowlers showed a lot of character, especially Herath. He brought us back into the game [and] almost helped us defend 200."
Herath had dealt India a double-blow in the 38th over, trapping Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin lbw off consecutive deliveries. But, in the end, it was another loss for Sri Lanka in a one-day tournament final. Mathews said his batsmen should have done better, after being 171 for 2. "To get to the finals, once again we showed heart, played positive cricket, but once again we couldn't cross the line.
"After Sangakkara and Thirimanne got out, we just panicked and kept losing wickets. We didn't have the momentum to go at the end. We kept taking wrong options. If we had batted through the 50 overs, we would have got to 230-240."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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