Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today rued the lack of consistency on the part of his bowlers and said his side could have executed the game plans better in their seven-wicket loss to South Africa in the first T20 International cricket match here today.
“There were periods where we conceded too many runs. That puts a lot of pressure on the bowlers. Any over above 20, it puts a lot of pressure,” Dhoni said after the match.
“Execution is crucial on a wicket like this and outfield like this. We could have done better. We have to encourage the opposition to play false shots and get wickets,” he added.
India scored 199 for 5 thanks to Rohit Sharma’s (106) maiden T20 International hundred but the South Africans chased down the target with two balls to spare, riding on J P Duminy’s unbeaten 68 and AB de Villiers’ 51.
Dhoni defended left-arm spinner Axar Patel who conceded 22 runs in the 16th over and also explained why he did not go for the part-time slow bowling of Suresh Raina.
“Axar does bowl well, whether against right or left hander. I could have gone with Raina, but seeing the conditions it’s quite difficult over here,” said Dhoni.
Asked if the 199 for 5 his side scored while batting first was enough, Dhoni said, “We had something close to par, but there was dew, high altitude.”
On the umpiring decisions, he said, “Even when we don’t get decisions in our favour, it changes the match.”
South African captain Faf du Plessis said that both sides played a good game of cricket. “I think the ball did get a little wet towards the end. But what a great game of cricket, both sides got 200. Great innings from Rohit there at the start. Today was one of those days when the bowlers were under the pump,” he said.
Praising J P Duminy, he said, “Great innings from JP, paced it really well and well-supported by Behardien.”
Duminy, who was adjudged man-of-the-match, said his knock today was one of his best innings. “Definitely one of my best innings. The way we started the innings was what we wanted in the chase. We batted quite well in the middle and built a good partnership with Behardien.”
“We both said we have to take it on, we don’t want to die wondering towards the end. We knew if we could get it down to 10-11 off the last over, we had a good chance. Fortunately enough, the left-armer missed his lengths and gave me an opportunity,” he added.