The Telegraph
Saturday , April 5 , 2014
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Virat deserved the winning runs, says captain Dhoni

Dhaka/ Calcutta: A “sense of calmness” prevailed in the Indian dressing room during the innings break, according to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as they got ready to chase 173.

India rode a good start by the openers and a superb 72 not out off 44 balls by Virat Kohli to a six wicket victory to storm into the World T20 final.

The Team India captain was all praise for Kohli. “It is great to have someone like Virat at No. 3. He is a special talent,” said Dhoni.

The following are excerpts

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: There was a sense of calmness in the dressing room during the intermission. Definitely, we could have done slightly better with the ball. But most of the thoughts were positive. Everybody saw that the wicket was better than those we have played on so far and we believed we could get the amount of runs required. What was very important for us was to get a good start and I think Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane did that really well.

I don’t know whether the sense of calmness was because of the Virat effect or not... I think we have huge belief in the team. Of course all the individuals need to have self-belief. But it is equally crucial to have belief in each other as well in a team environment.

Virat has been someone who has been exceptionally consistent with the bat, no matter what format he is playing in. There are not many who has been that consistent. It is great to have someone like him at No. 3. He is a special talent. I have always believed he has grabbed his opportunities well. That is one quality that all the other youngsters should learn from him.

Ravichandran Ashwin was brilliant. We had a few plans up our sleeves. We wanted to keep him for the middle overs because AB de Villiers is in great touch. We didn’t want the fast bowlers to bowl at him. We wanted him to use his power, as there won’t be any pace on offer. We also made a few changes here and there. Overall, it went well with us as far as bowling is concerned and I thought 170-plus was gettable. Of course, there were a few big hits but there were also a few deliveries that were in the block hole.

I didn’t take the single off the last ball of the 19th over because I thought the best that I could offer Virat was the winning run. So I let him do that and he did play a big shot to get the required runs. He has played a great innings and he deserved it. Moreover, there was no pressure of the run-rate as well.

Faf du Plessis: I thought we had batted excellently on this wicket. It was a very good score against a good bowling attack.

Ashwin bowled really well, but we put up a good score... 170-plus is a very good score. Runs on the board in the semi-final is what you ask for.

The bad thing is Dhoni and his team know how to chase. They have done it many times before. They paced their innings really well.

Virat played a great innings. They deserve to be in the final because they were the better side. And sometimes it is very important to appreciate a great batting performance.

Today we lacked a bit in our bowling. We bowled nine extras and if you want to win a World Cup you can’t afford to bowl nine wides… That’s unacceptable. So, we’re only to blame for the loss.

Virat is a world class player. He has done it countless times for India. But the thing with India is that every time we get a wicket, a new batsman comes in who is equally capable of taking the game away from us. That’s why they are so successful. I play with half of them for Chennai Super Kings and we have won several matches that way.