HAMILTON (TIP): Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the slow start for India’s second successive failure in chasing down a big target, despite coming so close in both the games. “If you are chasing 290-odd, and in the first 10 you are close to 30, (and then) 38 and two wickets down, it becomes very difficult for the middle-order, especially on a wicket which becomes two-paced due to a drizzle,” he said, shortly after the defeat here on Wednesday evening. “Even the fast bowlers’ deliveries were not coming on nicely. As the game progressed, it became more and more difficult. We got off to a good start in terms of not losing wickets, but the openers should have carried on a bit longer so that they could have played a few more shots, scored a few more runs,” he explained.
The captain conceded that the bowlers’ poor show was putting more pressure on the batsmen. “That is always the case as we have always been a batting-heavy side, and the new rules have affected us (badly). Unless it is a very seamer-friendly wicket, we have gone for runs. The batsmen are getting starts but are not converting them. It is crucial outside India to turn those starts into big partnerships,” he said. Dhoni felt that the pacers are progressing slowly, adapting to the new rules: “Our death bowling has improved. There is scope for improvement but we must not give easy boundaries, especially off the first or the last ball of the over.”
He said that the team morale remained good despite the two close defeats. “We have always emphasised that a victory or defeat should not affect the dressing room atmosphere. We will try to make it 1-2 at Auckland, but we will have to change a few things, how we play our cricket. A few things haven’t gone our way but it is very important that if you get the chance you win the game.” His counterpart Brendon McCullum was expectedly pleased with his team’s performance. “We constructed our innings very well, on the back of Kane and Ross’ partnerships.
They gave us the platform to launch and we were in a nice position even though the game was shortened. We were under pressure against a good Indian batting lineup, but we delivered at key times.” He too felt that starting well with the ball was crucial. “We want to take wickets up front and that’s where we spend our resources. We weren’t able to do that tonight, but we did the next best thing: control the run rate.
That put them under pressure and the wickets followed.” Man of the match Kane Williamson said that he was happy with his role as sheet-anchor. “With so many big boys is the middle to play the shots, I like to stay there, put up partnerships.”