'I told them God is not coming to save us today'

Dhoni lauds the attitude of the team while defending small total

After his batsmen managed a modest 129/7, all MS Dhoni told his boys was to treat the match as a T20 affair and not to seek divine intervention. His words worked wonders for the team as it pulled off a five-run win over England in the Champions Trophy final. Excerpts.  

   

On his advice while going in to defend 129: Before going in I said, ‘let's first of all get rid of the feeling that it's a 50-over game. It's a 20-over game, and we have seen in IPL and in T20 formats, 130 runs can be a difficult target to achieve. Secondly, nobody looks to the left of the pavilion. That’s the side that the rain was coming from. So, I said God is not coming to save us. If you want to win this trophy, we'll have to fight it out. We are the number-one ranked ODI side, so let's make sure that they have to fight for these 130‑odd runs. Don't look for any outside help.

On a one-day match turning into a 20-over match and field setting: To start off, I think it's a bit unfair that in the ICC Champions Trophy 50-over format we had to play a 20-over game to find a winner. But still, I think they needed the result. I think there was something for the bowlers, especially spinners. If you bowled the right areas you could hit the seam and get a bit of turn. It was stopping a bit. So, that was the reason why we had those extra close-in fielders and also we wanted to put some extra pressure on their batsmen. It was very important if it starts to turn that we have two spinners used right now. But it was important with our main bowlers we get wickets.

On not having a reserve day for final: I'm not sure about it. We just come and play the tournament. I'm not too worried about the result. That is something that the ICC needs to have a look at. The only bad thing is that, you know, the winner was decided in a 20-over game when it comes to a 50-over format.

On rain interruptions while batting: People talk about getting set, getting used to the pace and then playing the big shots, but that was never the case. That really never allowed us to gain any kind of momentum or build the kind of partnership that was needed. It reflected later on in the innings when the middle-order went into bat. They played a few big shots, and it never really paid off. It went straight to the fielders. I think it was the reason why we ended up scoring less than we should have scored or would have liked to score. I don't think there is much that can be done. But you're right, there was a lot of problem with those breaks. There were plenty of breaks, and I don't think we ever gained any momentum from that.

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