'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