Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was in an unusually jovial mood on Friday night although it was another Holi away from home. Last year, it was the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, the year before India were playing Australia, in 2012 it was the Asia Cup in Bangladesh and it was the World Cup before that. But Friday presented many reasons for Dhoni to be happy about.India have won all four of their group matches and head to New Zealand for back-to-back matches against Zimbabwe and Ireland. Sunday will decide their quarterfinal opponents, likely to be the winners of the England-Bangladesh match in Adelaide.
Even with the quality of opposition lined up till they go up probably against Australia in the semifinals (they are expected to top group B and then beat England or Bangladesh in the quarterfinals), Dhoni was not willing to look too far. He sported a wide grin and joked with the media during the post-match interaction after the win over West Indies, and while leaving peeped into the freezer to see if there were any more icecreams left.
Get big batsmen
Escorted by the media manager and team security officer, he had crossed the refrigerator but stopped and jumped sideways to inspect the box. Was he looking to celebrate Holi with ice-cream? Maybe. No one can really predict what Dhoni might do next, on and off the field. The skipper himself wasn’t ready to look too far ahead. “What will be important is how well you play on that particular day, especially in the knockout stages. You will have to keep the big batsmen, I mean the ones who can score runs quickly, if you can get them out cheaply, that will benefit. All the sides, they have got batsmen like that,” he said when asked whether he thought India were playing good enough cricket to go all the way.
“I feel all the teams are nicely matched. So, I feel it’s a really balanced World Cup. I don’t like to predict too far when it comes to cricket, but we just need to keep doing what we are doing right, and we’ll take one game at a time,” he added.
Other than his team’s batting coming good in two matches they have batted first, his fielding department has had three good matches out of four and the bowling unit has performed in all four. On Friday, Dhoni too got some time in the middle and that too on a Waca wicket that was making batsmen dance to chin music.
“I have toned down my batting after the 2006 tour of Pakistan. I have consistently batted lower down after that. My slot was after 30 overs but I had to improvise according to demands. I have never batted with a fixed mindset and because of that, I have benefited."