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

'The middle order was tested' - Dhoni

33

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

  • Shumbu on March 31, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    This is why Mahendra Singh Dhoni's is different and successful when compared to other captains. Lots of pressure off the field - No problem, Underperforming Yuvraj - No Problem, Inconsistent Rohit - No Problem, Out of form ashiwn - No Problem, Play third spinner - Why not? MS Dhoni is a captain who believes in the ability of his players. He understands the strength & weakness of his players and knows how to utilize them based on the match conditions. He gave enough time to Dhawan & Rohit, then introduced Rahane forcing these to perform. Believed in the power of Yuvi who paid back. Gave Ashwin more time by introducing Mishra which forced both these spinners to perform well.... All in all, the captain gets the best out of his team. And if something goes wrong, there is always MSD guarantee for a recovery..... Continue Mr. Captain Cool!

  • vkumar_086 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

  • santhoshg016 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

  • checkOnCricket 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.

  • 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,

  • spinkingKK 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.

  • Temuzin 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.

  • vkumar_086 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 them....one 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

  • Texmex 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.....

  • 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.

  • Shumbu on March 31, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    This is why Mahendra Singh Dhoni's is different and successful when compared to other captains. Lots of pressure off the field - No problem, Underperforming Yuvraj - No Problem, Inconsistent Rohit - No Problem, Out of form ashiwn - No Problem, Play third spinner - Why not? MS Dhoni is a captain who believes in the ability of his players. He understands the strength & weakness of his players and knows how to utilize them based on the match conditions. He gave enough time to Dhawan & Rohit, then introduced Rahane forcing these to perform. Believed in the power of Yuvi who paid back. Gave Ashwin more time by introducing Mishra which forced both these spinners to perform well.... All in all, the captain gets the best out of his team. And if something goes wrong, there is always MSD guarantee for a recovery..... Continue Mr. Captain Cool!

  • vkumar_086 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

  • santhoshg016 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

  • checkOnCricket 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.

  • 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,

  • spinkingKK 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.

  • Temuzin 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.

  • vkumar_086 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 them....one 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

  • Texmex 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.....

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Nampally on March 31, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    It was good chance for Yuvraj & Dhoni to get their "eye in" before launching into hitting. Their magnificient partnership of 84 in 7 overs set up India to be in a winning position. As Dhoni says, it was luck of the draw- toss, batting first & testing out their middle order- lacking in practice. Besides Rahane also got a chance to bat as an opener to provide an alternate opening bat option. The same was the case to test Mohit Sharma as the opening bowler. However the biggest joy for India was return to form of Yuvraj which should give lot of confidence. The spinners Ashwin & Mishra showed that they can hold their own even against the power of Maxwell & Co- Bundled for 86. India got a lot of confidence with several "highs" from this match. This should put them in the right frame for the Play off against a very strong South African team. Good luck India!

  • ramli on March 31, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    India is still not out of the woods ... says some here ... bowlers are bowling well restricting (when bowling first) as well as defending (when bowling second) ... batsmen are setting totals as well as defending targets ... fielders are taking catches ... run-outs are executed .... what else is needed from India to win? If you do this till the final game, you are through to the title. May be some people still not believing these things can happen with India!!! We have shown the world before ... we will show yet again ... cheers

  • on March 31, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    You need to assess the conditions, now the pitches in Bangladesh are already slow and low and it will be more and more spin oriented attacks will deliver the best. And the same cant be told to Imran tahir as he was a failure in similar conditions earlier. As far as the other team is concerned west indies has a better chance to go to Semis than pakistan. they wont be able to read naraine and badree. so my choice for Semi qualifiers are Group 1: South Africa, Newzealand Group: 2 Indian and West indies.

  • on March 31, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    Cont.

    Rohit and Rahane are most inconsisitent while Dhwan is yet to prove and at present not in form as well.

    So, I doubt this Indian team crossing semis unless there is one more spin web against opponents.

    All the team have scored in excess of 170 in their matches and India has not scored heavily in this tournament. Thanks to their bowling. India might loose in this area(scoring in excess of 170). Since they were playing for small totals they were slow in thier batting and this helped them in not loosing wickets. On one bad day where Spin attack doesn't work, India might face issues.

    Even Indian batsman are not that fluent as well in playing some of the spinners. I doubt that they may face problem in facing Imran tahir, Duminy if they play against SA in semis. India already faced problem while facing Duminy in SA itself. Inidan batting also has a history of not playing well against Ajantha mendis, Muralidharan, Swann, panesar, mediore while facing Nathan mccullum in Newzealand.

  • on March 31, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Frankly speaking... India has still many problems to resolve. It has purely won in all the four games with the help of spinners in helpful conditions.

    All of a sudden 3 bowlers in bowling dept are in form.. Ashwin bowling beautifully, Mishra with good guile, Bhuvneswar was econimical in two matches. Still worries for other 2 bowling spots.. Jadeja and Shami were ordinary. Had Dhoni not given a chnace to Mishra in this T20.. result would have been different. I am 100% sure.

    Indian batting has lot many issues than its bowling not only in this tournament but also from the day it started its journey in SA. They were never consistent barring Kohli. India is over dependent on this batting legend. Indian team is in similar situations as those days in 1990's where they were over reliant on Sachin. Apart from Kohli, Dhoni and Raina I dont see international class in their batting. Yuvraj is not yet in his prime form else he would have been in my list for international class.

  • realfan on March 31, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    @sajid Ali : how about praying allah to have mercy on your pakistan team against WI?? stop thinking about indian team.. you have done more than what you should have did... now start thinking about pak team, pray to allah

  • mm7111 on March 31, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    Dear Sajid, Even a broken clock is right twice a day, keep repeating, eventually you will be right about India losing some time. Good luck

  • nibird007 on March 31, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    liked the last paragraph of dhoni's quote... that shows hpw good capatain he is... he knows the game well and his tactics awesum..he might be unorthodox,but he is the change needed in a team to be diferent. sumtime he might fail...but failure is the pillar of success remember

  • on March 31, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    This is why I like espncricinfo. At times the comments make u laugh and lighten up your mood. And here the pak fans including @sajidali are undoubtedly #1. On a serious note pakistan commendable record of making it to the semis of every t20 world is under threat. They are playing well but its a 50-50 game on Tuesday! Frankly the winner of ind-saf semi should go on to lift the cup.

  • on March 31, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    The way india bats and bowl, there is a lot of chance that Team India will come back with the trophy. Provided: They should not be complacence (like once could see in Kohli's batting), Batsmen should play every ball on its merit... Fielding should also be improved

  • on March 31, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    Pakistan is one of the greatest cricket teams and big rival for India..The interested thing is Ind vs Pak makes the cricket more live to watch..We cannot make fun pakistan's team they have world class bowlers like saeed Ajmal..and batsmen like afridi who can easily make 50 in 18 balls...But being an Indian..I ll always support Dhoni...Support your team and dont make fun of others..

  • ProdigyA on March 31, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    @sajid a li - don't worry, Il bet that India will kick out pak again like so many times...whats more Yuvi is back in form, he alone is good enough for the entire useless pak batting except misbah, who is not playing.

  • on March 31, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    @sajid Ali : u pls don worry abt tat, think can pak atleast can make it into semis.,,

  • on March 31, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    @Sajid Ali, Quite Possible. But they have played brilliantly till now. I would'nt want India to sneak into the semis and somehow wain by hook or crook like Pakistan won 1992 world cup.

  • on March 31, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    yea india will be win and be out of semis like the league matches.

  • JPLOVER on March 31, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    @Sajid ali: At first u people say India wil crash out in super 10 itself. Then we defeated the worst team pakistan. And again WI, BD and nw against ggressive batting line up like aussies. Still u r blabering. But we dont care bcoz we are always best than ur team(Pakistan). If zimbabwe was in this group, pak wud have lost.

  • ManojBrock on March 31, 2014, 3:24 GMT

    This is what he is! he likes critic i guess,getting under the pressure and proving himself once again,isnt easy,making a comeback is stronger than consistent performers.He was the hot topic and he is the hot topic.Thanks MSD for supporting yuvraj he knows the strength of yuvi,like ganguly,dravid.I would request cricinfo members not to make blog out of yuvraj's form.

  • on March 31, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    @sajid ali...very well said mate I really appreciate your sense of humour ...when there is nothing to say just come up with such plain statements before every match

  • on March 31, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    sajid be practical India is doing well in all department ,because the condition suited them very well than any other team in the tournament,so don't waste your money in bet,we are damn sure that India will reach final,by the way beware of mighty west indies for your match.

  • on March 31, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    @sajid Ali, every one has got right to dream

  • on March 31, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    Pakistan can not even make it .. India Semis already .

  • on March 30, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    I can bet india will b out of tournament in semis.there is no chance for india.

  • on March 30, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    I can bet india will b out of tournament in semis.there is no chance for india.

  • on March 31, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    Pakistan can not even make it .. India Semis already .

  • on March 31, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    @sajid Ali, every one has got right to dream

  • on March 31, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    sajid be practical India is doing well in all department ,because the condition suited them very well than any other team in the tournament,so don't waste your money in bet,we are damn sure that India will reach final,by the way beware of mighty west indies for your match.

  • on March 31, 2014, 3:09 GMT

    @sajid ali...very well said mate I really appreciate your sense of humour ...when there is nothing to say just come up with such plain statements before every match

  • ManojBrock on March 31, 2014, 3:24 GMT

    This is what he is! he likes critic i guess,getting under the pressure and proving himself once again,isnt easy,making a comeback is stronger than consistent performers.He was the hot topic and he is the hot topic.Thanks MSD for supporting yuvraj he knows the strength of yuvi,like ganguly,dravid.I would request cricinfo members not to make blog out of yuvraj's form.

  • JPLOVER on March 31, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    @Sajid ali: At first u people say India wil crash out in super 10 itself. Then we defeated the worst team pakistan. And again WI, BD and nw against ggressive batting line up like aussies. Still u r blabering. But we dont care bcoz we are always best than ur team(Pakistan). If zimbabwe was in this group, pak wud have lost.

  • on March 31, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    yea india will be win and be out of semis like the league matches.

  • on March 31, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    @Sajid Ali, Quite Possible. But they have played brilliantly till now. I would'nt want India to sneak into the semis and somehow wain by hook or crook like Pakistan won 1992 world cup.

  • on March 31, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    @sajid Ali : u pls don worry abt tat, think can pak atleast can make it into semis.,,