Australia v India, 2nd semi-final, Durban September 22, 2007

The bowlers have responded well - Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni singled out Sreesanth for his contribution to the victory © AFP

A confident Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised his bowlers for the fantastic win against Australia which has put India in the final of the ICC World Twenty20. Dhoni also lauded the team spirit in the camp, saying the entire squad was enjoying themselves in the field, and playing hard, but with little pressure of expectation.

Looking back at the game, and the decision to bowl Harbhajan Singh in the 18th over - in which he gave away only three runs and took a wicket - Dhoni said: "Harbhajan wanted the responsibility - he said 'give me the ball I want to bowl'. He had the confidence. We needed a guy who had the confidence at the time. He proved it - he got us a wicket and got us into the game."

The other interesting decision was to hold back Joginder Sharma's fourth over till the final over of the innings. Dhoni explained his decision thus: "When Joginder came to bowl, Australia didn't have too many options - they had to increase the run rate and they had to target our fifth bowler. My thinking then was that the batsmen are quite relaxed; let's see how they go after Joginder when they are under pressure. I know he's not the quickest bowler, but he has the ability to bowl at the end, and he proved it again."

There were words of encouragement for Sreesanth, who finished with excellent figures of 2 for 12 from four overs. "He got [Adam] Gilchrist and [Matthew] Hayden and got wickets when we wanted him to. I would love him to perform like this in the finals as well."

Dhoni also said the win was very significant, especially since this was such a young team. "Every win means a lot because a lot of the team is young and new, and it's a big stage - the Twenty20 World Cup. The sort of teams we've defeated in do-or-die games was quite exhausting. The best thing is everyone is enjoying - not just their own performance but also everyone else's. There's no superstar in the team."

Looking ahead to the final, Dhoni repeated that he would ensure none of his team members take additional pressure upon themselves. "I know it's the biggest stage and the biggest match, but taking additional pressure doesn't help anyone. We'll just take it like another India-Pakistan match. And it helps that we've been playing each other more regularly recently.

"The pressure will be immense, but not on us because I don't believe in taking pressure and neither does my team. But we need to play with intensity and we are ready to do it."

He said it was more important to fix the level of expectations internally rather than go by what others expect of the team. "I play according to my expectation. I don't want others to fix that level of expectation. When we go back to the hotel we should know that we gave our best. It's not for others to fix expectations - that only adds pressure. We're coming directly from England, so we don't know the expectations - in a way that has helped us."

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo