With Asia Cup final berth booked, Dhoni looks to experiment against UAE

  • Kushal Phatarpekar, Hindustan Times, Mirpur
  • Updated: Mar 02, 2016 13:23 IST
India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, right, plays a shot, as Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal follows the ball during their Asia Cup T20 match in Dhaka on March 1, 2016. (AP Photo)

After sealing their place in the final of the Asia Cup with a win over Sri Lanka on Tuesday, India now intend to experiment and bring in some changes for their next game against UAE.

Speaking after the match, skipper MS Dhoni revealed that the team will try to make as many changes as possible to the side in the coming game.

“We still want to maintain the strength and want the composition to be very good. Not sure if everyone sitting out will get a chance but there will be changes and we will try to make as many changes as possible,” said Dhoni.

India beat Sri Lanka by five wickets making this their third win in as many games. Dhoni said he was happy with the balance of the side and praised the all-rounders in the team.

“The team is looking more balanced because of the players who can both bat and bowl. Looking at the conditions, with three fast bowlers, spinners and two part-timers, it’s a good bunch of players. They seem suited for these conditions,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni, who has been critical of the wickets so far in the competition, was happy with the track on Tuesday, calling it an ‘ideal T20 track’.

“In the first two games, we had seamer-friendly wickets. Today too, while it did not look alarming, the movement was enough to trouble the batsmen,” Dhoni said. “It wasn’t easy to come in and straightaway hit the shots. And it was demonstrated well by fast bowlers from both teams. However, here it gave batsmen a chance to score later on,” he added.

Sri Lanka top-order struggled to negotiate the India bowling initially, but eventually huffed and puffed its way to a total of 138 for nine.

“A score of 140 is a good one. If you score 80 or 100, it’s not exciting for the spectators. T20 is for spectators. Yes, they like seeing wickets, but they like to see a (even) contest. This in many ways was an ideal wicket for T20 cricket,” Dhoni said.

India’s middle-order batsmen, led by Virat Kohli, batted smartly on the track, scoring quick runs after initially being in a spot of bother.

While Kohli was the star of the innings, he was well-supported by Yuvraj Singh who came in and hit the big sixes to keep India abreast with the required run-rate.

“The more time Yuvraj gets at the crease, the better he will get. When you make a comeback, there is a lot of pressure. You don’t know whether you want to play a big shot. His approach has been good. He sets his eye in and then goes for the big shots. We saw today (on Tuesday) that he can hit the big shots at will. If he continues in the same vein, it will be good ahead of the World T20,” Dhoni said.

The skipper was also happy with Kohli’s performance who led India’s chase from start to finish.

“Kohli has always wanted to contribute more. He knows the importance of converting a knock of 70 into 100. It’s not only important for an individual but also for a team,” Dhoni said.

“He has become very good at reading the game and who to target. He knows his strengths. He is mature but bats aggressively. He is fit and has become important for the side,” Dhoni added.

As India look towards the final and the subsequent World T20, they will do so knowing that there are a few players struggling with niggles.

“We have a few injury problems but they are all sports-related cases. We have backups for all. But it is good we don’t have serious injuries. We comprise senior and junior players and that is a good mix.”

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