It was a lucky day for me, says man-of-the-match Shikhar Dhawan
He is in splendid form but Shikhar Dhawan was quick to admit that it was one of his "lucky days" at the office as his century against Zimbabwe ensured an easy 58-run victory for India in the second ODI.
"It was one of my lucky days. I nicked twice and they dropped it. You have some lucky days and it was one such day. I was playing well in earlier innings too but got out. Today it wasn't easy out there but myself and Karthik (Dinesh) played well," a satisfied Dhawan said at the post-match conference.
Asked about his red-hot form since making his Test debut last March, Dhawan said, "I have scored well in domestic cricket also and been in good form. Today, we concentrated on playing each ball on its merit after we were reduced to 65 for four. We didn't try to play too many shots. By the grace of God, I would surely serve Indian cricket for a long time."
Dhawan's skipper Virat Kohli was all praise for the duo as their partnership proved to be the decisive factor in the match. "Initially, we made a few mistakes but Shikhar and Dinesh came out with flying colours. It's a pity that Dinesh didn't go onto make a hundred but they surpassed my expectations of target of 240-250 but they got 290." Ask about Dhawan's reprieves, Kohli took a pragmatic approach.
"I look at it from two angles when someone is not batting well. You can nick a few and think that nothing is going right or else you can just feel that it's my day. It's about the mindset." The stand-in captain was effusive in his praise for young left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat, who took four wickets. "He is a tall lad and hit the right length and has a good change of pace.
We have a new side and we will be pressed hard at times but we responded beautifully under pressure," Kohli added.
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor was forthright in his assessment that senior players in the side needed to take more responsibility. Asked about middle-order slump in back-to-back matches, Taylor said, "I don't know what is the problem as the conditions for batting were batter in the second half. I think the senior guys need to put their hands up and take more responsibility."
Taylor observed that they made a strategic mistake by not slowing down proceedings when Karthik and Dhawan were going through rebuilding phase. "I know there are sanctions for slow over-rate but we shouldn't have bothered about that. We should have slowed down the proceedings even more in order to make it tough for the Indian batters," Taylor stated.
He admitted that the 167-run fifth wicket partnership between Dhawan and Karthik became the turning point. "That partnership killed us as we paid for those dropped catches."