It was a case of so near yet so far, but India had probably lost the match well before the last over. With due credit to Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar, the match was half in Australia’s pocket when they plucked out the heart of the Indian batting order during the batting powerplay.
India opted for those five overs that the batting side can choose after the 34th over with seven wickets in hand and 126 needed. They lost the three remaining specialist batsmen in the next 3.2 overs for the addition of 19 runs. Despite heaping praise on the unlikely duo, M.S. Dhoni blamed the defeat to this period.
“Given the amount of T20 we play, the task was quite achievable when we took the powerplay… 35-40 runs in that phase would have eased the pressure. It didn’t work in this game but we’re quite happy with that strategy. We lost too many wickets in the period.”
Ricky Ponting said he was delighted that a youngster like Peter Siddle finally pulled it off at a time when Brett Lee couldn’t bowl because of an elbow injury. “Happy that we won. It would have been disappointing had we not won from the position.” He said it was a good lesson for some of his inexperienced players. “Peter hasn’t been in that situation before and it was a new situation for quite a few of the guys. We didn’t bowl well in the last five-six overs, but I’m happy to have crossed the line. We take plenty of positives out of this game.”
Ponting was pestered with the question whether Harbhajan Singh almost took the game away, and his reply was cheeky.
“He came close and played well, but not well enough.”