Dhoni singles out Munaf for praise

Asked if the Proteas had lived up to the chokers’ tag, the Indian captain replied, “I won’t say it, because it is one thing that will always follow them, irrespective of whether the opposition says that or not. It’s like the Indian team when it comes to tri-series finals. Whether you win or lose, the numbers add on. That (choking) is one thing that will always haunt them, like the finals haunt us. You can’t really run away from it.”
Dhoni lauded the Indian bowlers for their really stirring defence of an anaemic 190. “We wanted to put pressure on the South African batting, but we didn’t think 190 was good enough to do that,” he conceded.

“The bowlers did a real good job to put pressure on them. Munaf gave us that vital early breakthrough by dismissing Amla. Harbhajan’s contribution too was really important. The South African batsmen had momentum on their side, but they decided to not take Harbhajan on, which meant they lost a bit of momentum. That really brought us back. Munaf’s contribution was brilliant. He bowls really straight, varies his pace really well, and deserves the man of the match award.”

The Wanderers pitch, Dhoni pointed out, was definitely not a 190 plays 189 surface. “If you bowled slow, there was a bit of turn for the spinners. If you varied your pace, you could put a bit of pressure if you bowled the right line. There was decent pace for the fast bowlers and a bit of bounce later on, but it was not a real quick wicket. 190 was not chased down but I don’t think it was a wicket like that. All it shows is that cricket is a funny game. At times, pressure makes you do strange things.”

Dhoni admitted that some of his decisions appeared to be masterstrokes simply because they came off. “I go a lot with my gut feeling,” he revealed. “I just felt there is a better chance of getting a wicket if Yusuf at point came in a little closer to Parnell in the last over. There is a fair amount of pressure because when you decide something, you also avoid something else. Today, I am receiving some appreciation. Tomorrow, if we lose, I’ll be criticised. It’s a part of being captain of the Indian cricket team, but it’s a real pleasure to be here.”

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