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Revised target left bowlers with no cushion: Dhoni

Indian skipper MS Dhoni says his batsmen put a decent total on the board but the revised target left his bowlers with no cushion at all. See match scorecard
By HT Correspondent | PTI
UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2008 02:37 AM IST

Smarting from Tuesday's eight-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni rued his batsmen put a decent total on the board but the revised target left his bowlers with no cushion at all in the rain-truncated match.

Put into bat, India piled 195 for five in the allotted 29 overs.

But a fresh spell of showers saw Sri Lanka being set a winning target of 154 in 21 overs and the islanders cruised to a comfortable victory with 12 balls to spare.

"In think ours was a decent total. Had it been a 29-overs-a-side game, things would have been different," a dejected Dhoni said after the match.

"All of a sudden, the bowlers are defending 154 in 21 overs, which necessitated a change in approach."

"Besides, Sri Lanka got off to a great start. Both Sanath (Jayasuriya) and (Tillakaratne) Dilshan were just amazing. By the time we removed Jayasuriya, they were almost 50 in the fifth over," he said.

Middle order batsman Rohit Sharma received a pat from his captain but Dhoni felt India still could not afford an extra bowler.

"Rohit has been doing quite well. We got a decent start and Rohit capitalised on that. Our batting has been improving since the Twenty20 international but still we can't afford to have an extra bowler in place of a batsman," he said.

On Dhoni, who scored a brisk 31 off 26 balls, said he was happy with his own form.

"I'm happy the way I batted. I mean I would have loved to score more but then I got run out," Dhoni said.

Like Dhoni, his opposite number Mahela Jayawardene also felt Dilshan and Jayasuriya gave the side a perfect start to chase the target.

"We probably conceded 20 extra runs towards the end when our bowlers did not look disciplined. But the way Sanath and Dilshan went about their task, it was really amazing. Dilshan batted right though the innings, which was just what we needed from one of the top order batsman."

"Though we lost (Kumar) Sangakkara cheaply, we did not worry at all. It was just a matter of keeping wickets in hand and score six runs an over. It was a good, calculated chase," said the victorious captain.

It was a must-win match for the islanders and Jayawardene claimed he always had belief in his team's ability.

"I knew we have the talent, it was just a matter of putting our heads together and play some smart cricket.

"I'm glad that we put in a lot of effort today and showed a lot of character," he added.

Man of the Match Dilshan, who was unbeaten on 62 off 59 balls, was elated to have made the most of the opportunity.

"It was a good opportunity to bat along side Sanath. He gave us the right start and we had the momentum."

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