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'The victory was important for us'

cricket Updated: Oct 18, 2007 21:10 IST

PTI
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The nail-biting two-wicket victory in the dead rubber was not enough to save the series but India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is happy that at least his side wrapped up the seven-match contest on a positive note.

"This victory was important for us as we wanted to finish the series on a positive note," said Dhoni, whose side lost the series 2-4 to the Australians.

The win in the inconsequential match on Wednesday's night was important for Dhoni and his teammates, who take on arch-rivals Pakistan next month.

Dhoni heaped praise on Murali Kartik, who first took a career best six-wicket haul and then scored crucial unbeaten 21 runs to see the side through.

"Kartik bowled extremely well. He had a finger injury in his right hand but he was eager to play," Dhoni said.
"In fact he played a big role in India's both wins in the series," Dhoni added.

Robin Uthappa, who topscored for India with his belligerent 47, also came in for rich praise from his captain. "Robin is showing a lot of maturity. He is an opener but he is being sent at 5-6. He can be shuffled around."

Dhoni also made it clear that he would stick to the rotation policy in the next series to groom youngsters. "That is the only way to give them confidence and confidence is important in international cricket," he said.

Meanwhile, his opposite number Ricky Ponting was upset at losing the match despite having the hosts on the mat.

"Whenever we lose, it's disappointing and more so when we lose from a winning position. In both the losses, we lost from winning positions. But that is one-day cricket," he said.

Like Dhoni, he too hailed Kartik and Uthappa for their performance under pressure. "Kartik bowled well today. He bowled well even in his first game. The wicket here was different because the top was a bit soft. Still you have to execute the skills and he did extremely well and deserved every wicket he got.

"Uthappa's innings was also very important in the context of match. He played aggressively and kept the momentum going," he said.

Ponting hinted that he was not particularly plaesed with the bowlers' performance in the middle overs. "I thought 193 was defendable because of the conditions as the ball was swinging and seaming. We wanted early wicket which we got but we could not get wickets in the middle and that's why we lost."

He was also critical of the crowd at the Wankhede Stadium and said, "They were booing us. It left a bad taste in the mouth and I hope it does not happen again during the Twenty20 game."

Ponting said he was a bit taken aback by India's decision of not playing Rahul Dravid in the match. "He's a class player and I was surprised he did not play."

Despite the defeat, the Australian captain was happy that the match turned out to be an entertaining one. "It was a very entertaining game though it was low scoring. The ball was swinging all day, which made it pretty even contest. It showed that even low scoring matches can be entertaining because of intensity right through the match," he said.

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