New Delhi, March 10(IANS) Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that being reduced to 99 for four by minnows Netherlands here Wednesday did put them under pressure but said it tested the middle-order which would stand them in good stead in the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Chasing a modest of 190 to win, India slumped to 99 for four before Man of Match of Yuvraj Singh (51 not out) and Dhoni (19 not out) steadied the innings to take India to a five-wicket win at the Ferozeshah Kotla.
“When you are 99 for four, it can put any team under pressure against any opposition. Still I think we did decently and won by five wickets. Yes, we were put under pressure and and you can say it was a matter of concern for us. But it was good experience. We don’t want to expose our middle order in the quarterfinals or semi-finals. It is good that most of our batsmen had fair amount of exposure in the World Cup campaign,” Dhoni said.
“When you are playing against a lesser known team and you are expected to win, you try to play aggressively to increase the run rate and in the process you can lose wickets. Not every time you will be successful.”
Dhoni was not impressed with the new ball bowlers and said they need to take wickets upfront.
“We want our bowlers to take wickets with the new ball, which is crucial in the subcontinent conditions, if we have to stop the batsmen from scoring briskly. We have quite a few bowlers who can swing the ball or can bowl tight and take wickets,” he said.
Dhoni was all praise for Piyush Chawla, who took two for 43, and said it will do a world of good to the leg spinners’ self confidence.
“I think he bowled a lot more free today, lets not forget he made his debut as a teenager. You have to see that Piyush has come back in the team after a long time and it is difficult to perform when you are being criticised left and right. He played well today. Yes he went for some runs in the last over, but I am happy with his overall performance today,” he said.
Dhoni said offie Ravichandran Ashwin will get an opportunity in the forthcoming matches against South Africa and West Indies.
“Yes he (Ashwin) needs to get a chance in one of the next two matches. I played Piyush here because I though he needed this game more that Ashwin. He had a couple of bad games and we wanted him to get some confidence. It is important that our players are in strong mental condition before the knockout stage,” he said.
“We have not been experimenting, we have only tried few things. It is better for us that we have the momentum in the coming two games and carry that in the knockout stages. It is important that we improve our performance in all departments going into the later stages of the league matches,” he said.
Dhoni was also happy with the performance of Yuvraj, who scored an unbeaten 51 and also took two wickets.
“Yuvraj has turned the table. Yuvraj is a big match player. He will perform on bigger stage and he is doing well with the ball also,” he said.
Dhoni continued his criticism of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), saying that it favours the on-field umpire’s decision.
“There are different parameters while judging the review and to me it favours the decision of the on-field umpires,” he said.