India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was all praise for his young bowling attack that held its nerve in the death overs during the 11- run win over Pakistan in the second encounter of the drawn Twenty20 international series at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera yesterday.
Young pacers Ashok Dinda ( 3- 36) and Ishant Sharma ( 1- 34) were excellent in the last two overs, giving away just just 14 runs when Pakistan needed 26 to win.
Dinda was superb in the penultimate over and dashed Pakistan’s hopes by claiming the crucial wickets of skipper Mohammad Hafeez ( 55) and Kamran Akmal ( 5) giving away just six runs.
Showering praise on the two young bowlers, Dhoni said they handled pressure splendidly.
“ A lot depends on the youngsters bowling the last overs. I think they held their nerve nicely. They were feeling the pressure, but they responded really well and executed the yorkers.
When they wanted to bowl slower ones, they did that,” said Dhoni.
The India captain also lauded his batsmen. “ We got off to a very good start from Gautam ( Gambhir) and Jinks ( Ajinkya Rahane)... Yuvi was at his best with those big sixes and fours. We got ten runs more than what we would have been happy with.
Overall it was good competition between the sides,” he said.
Man of the Match Yuvraj Singh, who slammed 72 off 36 balls, said he wanted to spend some time in the middle.
“ Yesterday I was batting in the nets and I couldn’t middle a single ball, so I was trying to spend time in the middle. That yorker ( which hit him on the boot) reminded me of Wasim Akram but that’s cricket, you got to take a few blows... We thought 160- 170 was a good total, but if Dhoni and me stayed till the end, we knew we could score more,” he said.
Basic problem: Hafeez
Pakistan captain Mohammed Hafeez, who was adjudged Man of the Series, said his batsmen erred in their length. “When we were bowling, we didn’t follow the basics… we bowled short of a length. The partnership between Dhoni and Yuvraj was the difference. In the first six overs we played really well, but we didn’t score as much as we should have between seventh to 10th overs,” he lamented.