Dhoni calls for bowlers to lift

Harbhajan Singh looks on as Mohammad Ashraful talks to Imrul Kayes Associated Press

After India conceded 296 runs against Bangladesh on Thursday, MS Dhoni has demanded better performances from his bowlers. The lacklustre effort in the field didn't prevent India from coasting to a comfortable win, but Dhoni said the bowling needs to be better if the team is to rise to the top of the rankings.

"If we want to be in the number one spot, if we want to be consistent then we need to improve our performance in all departments, especially bowling," he said after the six-wicket victory. "I want the bowlers to deliver when needed."

India have struggled to contain the runs in the death overs: Sri Lanka clubbed 59 runs in the final five overs of their chase on Tuesday to cruise to victory with 12 deliveries to spare, and Bangladesh plundered 88 runs in the last 10 overs to set India a stiff target.

"We need to improve our performance by 50%," Dhoni said. "I know that would be tough for the boys but that's what is international cricket all about."

While it was ultimately an easy win for India, there had been a few sticky moments earlier when they were reduced to 51 for 3. It was Dhoni's seventh ODI century and Virat Kohli's mature 91 that ensured there was no upset. "I was never really worried as we had the second Powerplay in hand," Dhoni said. "We were never really short of runs. We were always in reach of the target. So I and Virat decided to build up a partnership to lay the foundation and the plan worked."

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan also pinpointed the 152-run Dhoni-Kohli stand as the match-turning one. "When we got the early wickets, we thought we had a chance," Shakib said, "but they (Dhoni and Kohli) got a very good partnership in the middle overs and played sensibly."

Shakib though was happy with the way his batsmen performed after they combined to post Bangladesh's highest total against India. "Consistently we are getting runs and it's a plus point for us. Hopefully, we will try to bowl a bit better in the coming matches."

At the halfway stage of the tournament, Bangladesh have lost both their matches, India have won one and Sri Lanka are top of the table with two victories.