'We can chase anything in the last ten overs'

'We can chase anything in the last ten overs'

“When you chase close to six an over, it’s always a difficult task,” the Indian captain said as he defended the top-order collapse. “You want to take the opposition on. Yusuf took his time initially and then went after the bowling, which is his strength. The others played their shots and got out. The biggest positive from this tour is that we know we can chase anything in the last ten overs if we have wickets in hand.

“Throughout the series, we struggled to get runs from our batsmen. That was disappointing,” Dhoni went on. “But several of our players are experienced batsmen who have gone through such phases earlier and they know how to get out of bad form. It’s just a matter of one or two innings, then things will fall in place.”

Reflecting on the tour as a whole, Dhoni said, “It was a good series for both teams. They won the one-day series, we won the T20 and the Tests were drawn. We some some good cricket. Like I said, our batting didn’t do well in the one-dayers, hopefully all will be set in the World Cup.”

Defending his decision to bowl first though the team was a fast bowler short, Dhoni observed, “It was a good wicket, whatever life there was, was in the early stages. Unfortunately, we gave them a little too much room and allowed them to score briskly in the first ten overs.”

Graeme Smith, Pathan’s former team-mate at Rajasthan Royals, said he wasn’t unaware of Pathan’s potential. “He hits it so sweetly and once he began middling a few, he nearly took the game away,” the South African skipper said. “It was a lot more exciting than I thought it would be. It was an incredible knock. We were not as aggressive in our mindset, which played into his hands.”

Relishing the hard-fought 3-2 series win, he added, “We learnt some important lessons in terms of our decision-making. It was hard cricket throughout. We needed to be at our best to win the series, and that’s what you want. We always said we wanted to take the confidence of winning the series. Now, it’s really important to rest before the World Cup so we can enter it fresh and strong.”

This was Smith’s last series at home as the one-day captain. “We were under pressure going into Port Elizabeth (1-2 down), and we did very well under pressure to win these last two games. It’s terrific to sign off with a series win. It’s a fantastic note for my last series in SA as captain.”

Hashim Amla was named the man of the match for his measured unbeaten 116. “In the first three games, I was drifting a bit,” Amla admitted. “I was playing too extravagantly. I was then reminded of my role within the team, and that’s what I looked to do today.”