Mirpur: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday said Yuvraj Singh needed the kind of knock he played today against Australia to get his confidence back.
It was Yuvraj`s well-calculated 60-run knock that laid the foundation for one of India`s most crushing T20 victories in recent times. "Yuvraj`s innings was brilliant. He paced his innings perfectly. Initially, he took some time to settle down but we know what kind of a player he is once he gets set. He can clear any boundaries in the world and hit the pacers and spinners alike. It was an innings which he needed to express himself and he did it," Dhoni said at the press conference.
"Yuvi might take a few balls to settle down but on this track it is better to take those 10-15 balls because in the end, one has the chance to score much more runs than the balls one faces," the skipper said, giving a cue about how Yuvraj went about planning his innings. Asked whether the team is peaking at the right time, Dhoni smiled and said, "I hope so".
Elaborating further on Yuvraj`s innings and their partnership, Dhoni said, "When I went in there as the new batsman, Yuvi had already spent some time and was aware as to how the wicket was behaving. Since the dew here is much less than Chittagong, the ball is gripping to the surface and coming a bit late onto the bat. Batting here wasn`t an easy job. Yuvi told me about how the bowlers were bowling and accordingly, we made plans to target a few of them."
The skipper feels that at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur, the par-score is 140-145. "Normally, we have a tendency to accelerate if we are, suppose, 80 for two after 10 overs. But we might end up losing three wickets in the next four overs. Therefore, trying to target a score of 160, we may end up getting all-out for 130.
"That is why I believe in trying to go for the par-score which is around 140-145 on this track. Then we might end up getting 155-160 and those 15 runs in these conditions will make a huge difference," the skipper explained. The skipper also said that it was good to bat first as he wanted that in the first place. "I wanted to bat first as it would have given an opportunity to test the middle-order and set a target. We lost a few wickets and the middle-order got an opportunity today.
"It was a wicket where we were finding it difficult to rotate the strike. We might encounter this kind of a scenario in the semi-final and this was a good test." Having thrashed Australia, an obvious question was how much fun it was out there in the middle when the opposition batting was faltering, Dhoni replied, "Trust me, it`s not fun when you are playing a top team. The intensity level is very high. It is a game that can change in every couple of overs. It was actually a challenge. We could have also lost the game in 15-16 overs for the kind of batsmen they had."
The skipper said that the performance depends a lot on the kind of conditions that the teams are playing. "Here the conditions are slightly different as our spinners are getting some help from the tracks. This was not happening in New Zealand and South Africa. Overall it has been a very good performance. The bowlers did a very good job.
"Mohit and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar) bowled well first-up. That was also key. Just like if the wickets are green-tops, then we expect that teams outside the sub-continent will do well." Asked if the slow wickets will pose a problem for the batsmen in coming matches, the skipper answered, "You can`t say that. It will be definitely same for each and every team. But yes, sub-continental teams with better spinners will have an advantage. In any case, the teams that plays consistent cricket will do well."
Australian skipper George Bailey struggled to give an answer to team`s problem but admitted that it was one of the "most embarrassing defeats under his captaincy". "Yeah, this was unexpected and disappointing. Comfortably the most disappointing game in which I have led the team," Bailey said. "Their spinners and quicks bowled okay. Our batters can?t actually hold their heads high for some of the shot selections."