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'Defeat to B'desh probably the worst'

Rahul Dravid blames bad batting display for India's humiliating loss, terming it as team's worst defeat.
AP | By HT Correspondent, Port-of-spain, Trinidad
UPDATED ON MAR 18, 2007 03:28 PM IST

Skipper Rahul Dravid blamed bad batting for India's humiliating five-wicket loss against Bangladesh, which put the 2003 finalists in danger of being knocked out in the first round of the World Cup.

Batting first after winning the toss, India was bundled out for 191 in 49.3 overs and Bangladesh achieved the 192-run target for the loss of five wickets with nine balls to spare.

"It's a terrible defeat, probably the worst one," Dravid said. "We've had some disheartening defeats in the past, but this is a huge disappointment.

"We didn't play well, everyone's going to be dejected." India's famed batting lineup included three of the world's top six run scorers in limited-overs internationals, yet the team struggled to handle Bangladesh's attack.

"We could have just batted a lot better," said Dravid, who along with Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly - both former skippers - figure in the exclusive club of batsmen that have compiled more than 10,000 runs in one-day internationals.

Ganguly emerged as the top-scorer with 66 runs, but Tendulkar contributed just seven and Dravid made only 14 when the younger batsmen relied on them to shape the recovery from a shaky start. "We had the quality and should have done better, we just didn't bat well," said Dravid, who conceding that he had misread the pitch.

"The pitch was a tricky one, it had a pretty dry look about it," said Dravid. "We thought we should be a bit positive, go out there and try to put the runs on the board and make it difficult for them later on.

"Things didn't go that way, we lost early wickets at the top and again there was a flurry of wickets toward the end." India was rattled by two early blows from pace bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, whose figures of 4-38 were the best for Bangladesh in World Cup matches.

A brief recovery through Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, who made 47, was followed by a slump that saw India lose five wickets for two runs in 16 deliveries.

"In stops and starts, we lost clumps of wickets," said Dravid. "We didn't play anywhere near our potential and paid the price for it."

Dravid complimented Bangladesh's spin bowlers for keeping Indian batsmen tied down in the middle overs and aggressive young opener Tamim Iqbal for setting off a rapid chase that gave other batsmen the luxury to graft for runs.

"Bangladesh is really playing some good cricket at the moment," said Dravid. "The attack was quite outstanding ... Mortaza bowled in good areas with the new ball in conditions suiting him and then the spinners didn't give anything away.

"Defending 191 was never going to be easy."

Cricketers are idolised in India, but Indian fans also react strongly to poor showings from the national side. "When you lose, you've got to take the criticism," said Dravid, asserting that India was not out of World Cup yet. India has to win its next two Group B matches, against rank outsider Bermuda and 1996 World Cup winner Sri Lanka to remain in contention for a place in the Super 8s.

"We have our backs to the wall, but we know what we need to do," he said.

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