Ahmedabad, March 25 (IANS) A relieved Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said his side handled the pressure better during their five-wicket victory over defending champions Australia in the World Cup quarterfinals here Thursday.
India at one stage were 187 for five when Dhoni was dismissed, but Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh’s 74-run sixth-wicket partnership took India across the finishing line. Dhoni defended Raina’s inclusion over explosive Yusuf Pathan, saying the former was technically more sound.
“We needed 70-odd runs and had our last batting pair out. We knew if Yuvraj and Raina played out the 50 overs, we would make it. There was pressure, and it was about handling it,” Dhoni said.
“It was the choice for the no.7 place. Raina is technically better and we were keen on batting for 50 overs. But we know Yusuf can be dangerous.”
Dhoni also praised India’s performance on the field and said they had put up their best.
“We would have been satisfied in keeping them to 250. But we had our best fielding unit today. Our best fielders did exceptionally well, especially Yuvraj who excelled with fielding, batting and bowling,” he said.
India play arch-rivals Pakistan in the semifinals in Mohali March 30. Dhoni said while there will be pressure they will prefer to treat it like any other game.
“It doesn’t get any better. The pressure will be big, but in reality it makes no difference to us. We will take one game at a time,” he said.
Ponting, who scored his 30th ODI century, was understandably disappointed.
“We needed more wickets in the middle of the innings. With 15 overs to go, it was touch and go, but Yuvraj and Raina played really well. It’s disappointing to bow out, we are a better team than we showed today. But full credit to India. They were better today,” he said.