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Dhoni: Last four overs made the difference

Dhaka: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni felt that the last four overs during the Indian innings which produced just 19 runs made all the difference in the end.

Speaking at the post-match media conference, Dhoni avoided most of the questions on Yuvraj Singh, who made 11 off 21 balls, but stressed that the left-hander tried his best.

Excerpts…

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: I think the last four overs (during our innings) made the difference... The reason being the last four overs is a place where you really want to score as many as you can and that was an area where we couldn’t capitalise. At the same time you have to give credit to the Sri Lankan bowlers. I think they executed their plans brilliantly.

They were looking for wide yorkers and all the balls were perfect wide yorkers. I think they only bowled one wide or something. Other than that they were right on the mark, which made it further more difficult for our batsmen to score freely.

I think so, overall if you see the whole tournament we played really well. Right from the practice matches, and it was evident from the fact that we didn’t have too many changes in our side as the tournament progressed. Yes, overall I’m very happy with how everybody performed.

The thing about Yuvi is that he was trying... That is the most you can do. Today is a big day, so let’s not talk about selection because, effectively our season ends today. Now we go into the domestic cricket with the IPL. So let’s not talk about selection as of now, we’ll see when it comes.

If you see our batting line-up, most of the batsmen are really good T20 batsmen. But we have only one, Suresh Raina, who can go in and really start hitting from the very first ball. Most of the other batsmen like to spend a bit of time and then play the big shots.

That’s the reason why we wanted Yuvraj at No.4 and then Raina at No. 5.

At the innings break, you always have to see if the opposition played better cricket than you or whether it was your fault. In this case I thought they executed their plans well. But at the same time yes there was a bit of disappointment. Also we were able to defend something close to 130 in the Champions Trophy. We knew we had our chances, but it was that we had to bowl really well. I felt under lights the wicket behaved slightly differently. You know it started coming onto the bat relatively well compared to the first innings.

Virat Kohli: Firstly, congratulations to the Sri Lanka team, especially Mahela and Sanga. It was their last T20 game and I think Darren (Sammy) was right... The God was indeed smiling on them. They played some brilliant cricket too. Well, I am disappointed that we couldn’t cross the line as we came too far unbeaten. Personally, I am happy with my performance. I just tried to keep it simple, tried to stay in my zone and that sort of worked out for me.

In the last T20 World Cup also I tried to do my bit. But unfortunately that wasn’t enough for us to qualify. This time also I tried to do my bit. Actually, I have been playing well for some time now. And I thought why not make the most of it and help the team win a tournament. I can help my team that way in any format... to help reach the final as far as possible in a tournament. As far as this tournament is concerned, the most pleasing thing for me is that the team has reached the final and I had contributed in almost all the matches that we played.

It feels nice to have played a good innings since some people were saying that I like chases only and can’t score in the first innings. The wicket was a bit slow early on. It was important to hold one end and play sensibly. They were brilliant in the last four overs and gave away very few runs. When Malinga gets his yorkers right, there’s nothing much one can do.

I was playing well till the 15th over, after that I hardly got to play any ball. But I won’t say that was frustrating because the person at the striker’s end was also trying to strike the ball. But it was one of those off days when nothing came off rightly. And they were bowling in splendid areas as well.

We are going to come back stronger in the next edition. Sadly, it was an off day for us, but the boys can be really proud of themselves. We batted, fielded and bowled really well in this tournament. The boys have shown a lot of character and temperament to reach the final after a host of disappointing losses in the recent past. It was an ideal platform for the boys and, hopefully, they will learn from it.