Boys showed aggression, but it was controlled: Dhoni
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the Men in Blue showed plenty of "controlled aggression" as South Africa buckled under pressure in the ICC Champions Trophy opener here today
Chasing an imposing target of 332, South Africa were all out for 305. "The boys played with plenty of aggression, but it was controlled," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony. Expectedly, the skipper was full of praise for openers Shikhar Dhawan (114) and Rohit Sharma (65), who laid the platform with a 127-run stand after India were put in.
"Rohit batted well along with Shikhar, gave us a good platform, but we lost too many wickets during the middle. Going by our position around the 35th over mark, we were short by at least 25 runs." "You talk about giving guys consistent chances, last ODI Rohit played, he did as an opener, selectors also backed us up, they said let him play all three games as an opener, it worked for us," he added. Asked about the Indian batsmen resorting to playing the pull shot, he said, "Before you play the pull, best option is to take a single, if that is not working, go after the bowler. And the fifth fielder inside also helps." Dhoni operated the spinners well to put South Africa under pressure. "Spin was needed at that point of time. It worked for us, we got those run outs as well."
South Africa skipper A B de Villiers did not seem too disappointed with outcome. "We got ourselves into a great position to win the game with the bat. I am proud of the way we fought back through the day from some unfortunate instances, but we lost too many wickets. "It was an amazing effort to keep them to 330, about par. We were above the run rate, but lost wickets at the wrong times, good captaincy by MS. A couple of runs outs also cost us a bit," De Villiers said.
Man of the Match Dhawan said, "Really happy. South Africa are a great bowling unit, pressure is always there in international cricket, but you have to move on with it. "Priority was to stay at the wicket, we knew we could play shots and recover. The left-right pairing works as well."