Melbourne: Indian captain Mahendra Singh on Sunday conceded that his side lost the plot in the early overs with new ball bowlers failing to make a mark in their tense four-wicket loss against Australia in their cricket tri-series match here.
"It was a good match overall and Mitchell Starc (6/43) bowled really well. Rohit Sharma also played a brilliant innings. But what was crucial was bowling with the new ball. The game was just drifting till the 30th over, but we picked up at the 35th over and once we got reverse swing, we were able to put pressure," Dhoni said after Australia chased down the target of 268 with one overs to go.
Australia were cruising at 196 for two at the end of the 35th over, needing just 70-odd runs with eight wickets in hand and 15 overs left but a late fightback by the Indians gave the home side some jitters with the match going down to the penultimate over.
Dhoni said he told the players later on that the team needs to execute plans if it wants to win tournaments.
"I said I don't care about the result, just keep in mind what happened after the last huddle. That will win us tournaments. We have to keep in mind that from now on, whatever games we play we need to execute," Dhoni said.
He also said the top-order batsmen should take more responsibilty so that the bowlers have runs on the board to defend.
"All three teams are top sides and it's important for the top order to take extra responsibility and give a total our bowlers are comfortable with it," he said.
Asked what could be the defendable score generally in one-day internationals these days, Dhoni said, "A lot depends on conditions, about how the wicket is behaving, specially with drop-in wickets.
"Also the dew factor, today there wasn't any. But if it (dew) was it becomes difficult to contain and then the composition of the attack. On the higher end of 270, should be defended because the bowlers will get extra bounce and will reverse," he said.
Australian captain George Bailey said it would have been nice had they wrapped up the match early but nevertheless expressed happiness with the win.
"Would have been nice if we had not left it up to James Faulkner. We dragged it back really well with the ball (to restrict the Indians to 267/8). We delayed India's charge leading to the death overs. Once again wickets at the end so important and Starc had a great night," he said.
"We had the momentum when we came off the field. Finch battled his natural game a bit, deserved a hundred and that partnership with Steven Smith was good. Finchy's been in pretty good touch right through the ear in ODIs, particularly in Australia. Tonight he played really hard between 40 and 60 and stuck it out," he added.
Starc, who was named man-of-the-match for his 6/43, said he was enjoying his game, having won the same award in Australia's win over England in the tournament opener on Friday.
"The ball's coming out well and Australia's winning games. Great to contribute and it was a team effort. Picked up key wickets," Starc said.
"Rohit batted well, but Finchy played well and Faulkner's finished it for us. I was a bit nervous, still am standing with pads on talking to you," he said.