Australia v India, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 30, 2014

'The middle order was tested' - Dhoni


Everything is working like a charm for India in the World T20. They were able to do in their first three games what they like doing- win the toss, bowl, and restrict the opposition to a moderate target. With a semi-final spot earned after three successive wins, they wanted to bat first in their final group match against Australia. So George Bailey won the toss and asked India to do exactly that.

The top order had done most of the batting in the first three games, so India wanted the middle order, especially Yuvraj Singh, to be tested ahead of the knockouts. So Australia reduced them to 66 for 4. Yuvraj was not one of those four, and in the familiar company of MS Dhoni, revived India to 159 for 7, rediscovering his touch on way to making 60 off 43. No wonder Dhoni was pleased at the workout his batsmen, especially Yuvraj, got against Australia and felt the experience would help them in case they needed to set a target in the knockouts.

"We wanted to bat first in this game," Dhoni said. "Once we lost the toss it wasn't really in our control. Overall very happy that we were able to bat first and set the target. The middle order was tested. After we lost a couple of wickets, the ball wasn't really coming off the wicket, so it was slightly difficult for the batsmen to freely rotate. That's the kind of scenario that we may encounter in the coming game.

"There was no dew at all because of which the ball was gripping even more because of which shot-making wasn't easy at all. In this situation, 140-145 is a very good score. When you have 145 in mind and move forward and you have good batsmen in your side, then you end up with 155-160. In these wickets, 10-15 runs is a lot. I think we had the right approach because of which we could get nearly 160.

"Because the wickets are on the slower side and at times you tend to look at may be 160 is still a good score (to defend), you need to accelerate and you lose too many and you end up getting 130. I think in the middle period Yuvraj batted really well. He gave himself time. It was an ideal opportunity for him to see through the initial 10-15 deliveries and we all know the kind of batting line-up we have. Anyone who eats up the deliveries initially and stays till the end, he makes much more than the balls he faces. That's a big positive for us and overall the whole batting line-up got a bit of batting."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VIJAY on April 1, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    @Sajid Ali....yar think about your team first and pray to allah to overcome WI power today...then speak about semi finals...hey you have all right to enjoy your dream

  • Santhosh on April 1, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    It was a good batting by yuvi and dhoni had kept lot of faith on yuvi from the beggining of his career. Now he is back to form.. yuvi should take some time in middle of the screase, he has to watch the ball 10 to 15 balls he should play defend and then later on he can go for big shots,, and the match against australia lets wait and see how indians will play against mighty south africans.. Gud luck guys

  • Rajarathinam on April 1, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    Its really good to see people appreciating Dhoni's and Yuvi;s efforts finally. few days back i could see so many people were criticizing Dhoni for his decision to have confidence in Yuvi and Yuvi to continue playing. Now i hope people understand that Dhoni is a good Strategist and believes in people who is indeed talented.

    few years back dhoni was having confidence on a youngster names Ravindra jadeja but the lad was not performing to his full potential . Now i would say its hard to replace him in indian side as he is a very good bowler and a useful batsmen.

  • Dummy4 on April 1, 2014, 0:15 GMT

    India's bowling efforts have truly surprised everyone, we (Pak) have done well to compete so far with a fairly avg team, in the first game against India we could have defended had the captain used the spinners well and been tactical, as were seeing low scores can be defended.

    Hoping pak keep there discipline and play hard and win tomox inshallah although on paper WI look stronger!

    SL were amazing today,

  • KISH on March 31, 2014, 21:35 GMT

    India just playing superbly. I have to give due credit to Dhoni. In the past, I have criticized Dhoni for various selection decisions and his captaincy in test matches. But, here, his presence made a HUGE difference. It was as if he doesn't believe that the team can lose. I did mention when India lost the Asia cup that the team looked very good and when Dhoni the player comes back in to the team, it was going to be just fantastic. Dhoni, the captain, has made the team ruthless. Well done Dhoni and his team. There are still the teams from the other groups to face and they may have the game to beat India. But, that wouldn't make this Indian team any worse. South Africa with their calm Amla at the top of the order and AB.Devilliers and Duminy in the middle could chase up to 160 against India. Hopefully, Indian batsmen can score more against their bowling. All the best to India. I foresee India v/s West Indies in the final.

  • uncle bob on March 31, 2014, 21:00 GMT

    Yeah Yuvraj plays very well in the company of Dhoni. Same is true for Raina. I suggest, First Yuvraj should come on the pitch followed by Dhoni and then Raina. That way these three will have some sort of partnership and can also destroy any bowling on their day.

  • VIJAY on March 31, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    @Aravind Sai Kuchibhotla...those things wont happen dear...we all know SA wont play against spin in spinning tracks like subcontinent pitches (barring ABD, who plays well in all conditions) and the second reason is they are chokers...failed 100 times in important stage....third reason is India very very rarely looses in knockout stages...if we meet either of Pak or SL in finals....definitely INDIA will be the winner of this cup...if we face WI, then slight difficult it is...but then also we can take inspiration from this WC as we have already defeated more thing i observed is Dhoni is much determined to win another cup for India, im observing him in the field and in press conferences, his confidence level is so high that he wants any team to come and play against India, what else we want...determined captain, good bowling attack, strong batting line up and truly inspired fielding...all will lead India to win cup this time

  • karthik on March 31, 2014, 18:19 GMT

    Dhoni has been good no doubt. But let us not forget Dhoni would never have selected Mishra in the Asia Cup. When did he ever choose 3 spinners in a 1 day match? We have to thank Kohli for "finding" Mishra. Mishra is an attacking bowler, hope Dhoni lets him continue to express himself and does not ask him to bowl defensive and set defensive fields.....

  • Dummy4 on March 31, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    Since NZ series Rohit sharmas International record is like this. 3,20,40,79,4,24,13,54,19no,24,62no, 57 & 5. Means in 9 ODIs & 4 T20s Rohit scored four fifties and one fourty. Can anybody say Rohit is not consistent enough ? Why people are always targeting Rohit ? Rohit is now playing superbly. In current T20 WC, where almost all batsmen are struggling on bowling friendly pitches, Rohit and Virat only gave stability in Indian batting. In last match UV too seems to be getting his touch back. Now we can very much dream to win the WC with our current Indian team. Now the only small question about playing 11 in semis. Well I think Dhoni will rightly turn back to set opening pair of Rohit / Dhavan. Like UV, Dhavan too need only one inning to get back to form. And I am sure he will get his touch back and provide good start with Rohit. For that Rahane has to make way. Friends, Rahane is a very good classic batsman. But in T20 Dhavan & Rohit is only ideal opening pair. All the best team India.

  • Dummy4 on March 31, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    @ Aravind Sai Kuchibhotla I Want to know How u guys still finding reason and saying india won because of spin friendly conditions and saying.... let me come to your logic according to you India won on bank of spinners ... India beat Pak are you going to say Ash is better than Ajmal when indian spinners restrict pak with great spinner in team y can pak restrict india.... Cricket is team game but all the 11 players will not come to party.. one day it is steyn for SA, another day Malinga for SL, Again hearth for SL, Narine and Badree for WL won mathces for their Respective teams.... You guys said only spinners dnt forget about Bhuvi contribution that opening spell gave spinners added advantage, And Many Said india cant defend total and they did against Tournament Pre fav wat else you guys need.... give credit where it lies