India captain Mahendra Singh was happy with the way his boys warmed-up for the World Twenty20 despite losing the practice game to arch-rivals Pakistan by five wickets at the Premedasa Stadium here yesterday.
“It was a good test for the main tournament and it was a good game. We could test which combination would be the best for the tournament,” Dhoni said.
“We bowled well in the last few overs though I felt we gave too many runs with the new ball by our fast bowlers. But apart from that it was a good game for all of us,” he added.
Dhoni said that India would prefer to play all the matches with seven-batsmen-four-bowler combination in the tournament.
“It’s a difficult choice whether to pick an extra bowler (fifth bowler) and drop a batsman. I have batsmen who can be used as part-timers and we are a side that is comfortable playing seven batsmen,” said Dhoni.
Dhoni was happy to see Rohit Sharma come back to form in the two warm-up matches.
“Rohit has been doing well. Lots of people think that T20 is very short game but I feel that at times you can use up some balls to settle down. Rohit did just that, he took some time to settle down and later went after the bowlers.
“He (Rohit) is a talented player. It’s good for the team as he can also bowl a bit with his off-spin,” he said.
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said win has boosted the morale of his side.
“The way the boys approached the chase was very positive. We knew if India could post that total, we could get it if we worked hard,” said Hafeez.
“We won the series against Australia in the UAE before coming here. Now we have beaten India in practice match, this will give us the momentum and boost in the tournament proper. The way the boys approached the chase was very positive,” he said.
Hafeez also had words of praise for Shoaib Malik, who supported Akmal well during the chase.
“That is what experience is all about. The experience of Malik was also the key. He supported Kamran really well. The bowlers tried hard, but things didn’t work out for them today.”
It was Akmal (92) and Malik’s (37) unbeaten 95-run stand for the sixth wicket that helped achieve the target of 186 with five balls to spare.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (4-23) gave India some hope after he had Pakistan reeling at 91/5 in 11.3 overs. But Akmal and Malik proved too good for India.
Earlier, valuable innings from Virat Kohli (75 not out off 47 balls) and Rohit Sharma (56 off 40 balls) helped India reach 185 for three in 20 overs.