Bowling combo in sharp focus after first game

Cricket : Could've done better, admits Dhoni

Bowling combo in sharp focus after first game

India would have a lot to mull about their combination, especially in the bowling department, before taking on South Africa in the second T20 at Cuttack. Despite posing a challenging target of 200 in the first T20I here, the Indian bowlers failed to defend it. Not to forget the fact that the home team was playing with five specialist bowlers.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni indicated there could be a re-look in the bowling combination and an extra spinner can be included, depending on the conditions. While defending his two spinners, Dhoni said it was difficult to play more slower bowlers here because of heavy dew. But the captain did feel it was bad bowling in phases which let them down.

“I felt the effort was good. 200 was close to par score but I felt we could’ve done slightly better with our bowling. There were phases we did not bowl well and those were the phases that really hurt us.” Dhoni told reporters after India’s seven-wicket loss in the first game.

“You have bad overs but you have to restrict to maybe 12 or 15 runs and that really helps the bowler coming after you. You have to keep choking the opposition to win games like these,” Dhoni said, perhaps referring to the 16th over bowled by Axar Patel, when he conceded 22 runs, with J P Duminy going hammer and tongs. It swung the match in South Africa’s favour. 

Dhoni, however, said Patel did well overall. “I think our spinners did bowl well. If you take Axar’s one over out of the game, I think he bowled really well. If you see, he is very consistent with his line and length. He isn’t someone who gives a lot of loose deliveries so you have to play the big stroke to get runs out of him.

"I think we can go with more spinning options. We will have to keep in mind the venues and the dew factor because if there is a lot of dew it will be hard for the spinners,” he said.

The captain also praised Sreenath Arvind, who made his international debut on Friday, and said the left-arm bowler earned his place in the side following a consistent performance in T20 format.

“He isn’t a surprise package. He is left-armer who is a bit different. We are also rewarding (him for) what he has done consistently in the T20 format. He is someone who bowls quite a few variations and he is quite good at it but I think he bowled decently though the wicket didn’t support him too much. Yes, he went for runs but when good batsmen are batting on good wickets, more often than not you will feel the pressure,” he said.

Duminy, whose knock carried South Africa to victory, said watching Rohit run through the bowling didn’t affect them. “The last few days we spoke a lot about competing on this tour, and we knew that no matter what was thrown at us, we needed to have a counter-punch and we needed to make sure to focus on the next ball. He played an exceptional innings but the way we came back in the last three or four overs was good from us,” he said.

“At one stage we were looking at chasing 220 and that probably would have been a winning score for India. I think that also played a big part in us chasing only 200. Our (he and Farhaan Behardien) main focus was to build on a partnership."

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