Dhoni erred in his decision to bowl first: James Franklin

Chennai: New Zealand all-rounder James Franklin feels Mahendra Singh Dhoni erred in his decision after winning the toss, and said the entire Kiwi outfit was surprised when the Indian skipper decided to bowl first in the second Twenty20 game at a relatively slow Chepauk pitch here.

"Honestly, India`s decision to field raised a few eyebrows in our camp. Having had the experience of playing IPL here, we always knew it was a win the toss and bat first pitch," Franklin said after stealing a one-win win at the M Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk here last night.

Sent into bat, New Zealand rode on Brendon McCullum`s blistering 91 to post a competitive 167 for five on the board and then restricted India to 166 for four.

India, however, looked at ease till Virat Kohli`s (70) dismissal, but their chase fell apart when comeback man Yuvraj Singh (34) departed in the final over. Even though Dhoni remained unbeaten on 22, it was not enough to see the Men in Blue home.

"Our plan after Virat`s dismissal was to not let the new batsman settle in and get the required run-rate up and try to induce mistakes from them," Franklin said.

"Dhoni is a big hitter, but the ball was gripping and stopping a bit on the batsmen. It was about bowling cleverly."

Franklin also feels that yesterday`s narrow win over India will act as a morale booster for the Kiwis ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup to be played in Sri Lanka from September 18 to October 7.

"It has been a tough tour for us. We did badly in the Tests, but this (win) is definitely something we`ll celebrate. It is good to end on a winning note ahead of the (T20) World Cup where we are heading from here," he told reporters at the post-match press conference.

"We`ve certainly got a tough challenge in Sri Lanka, especially since we`re grouped with two sub-continent sides.

"But, we`ve to focus on our game and get better at what we`ve been doing and back ourselves to come good," added Franklin, who starred with the ball for the visitors in yesterday`s game with figures of two for 26, which includes the crucial wickets of Kohli and Yuvraj.

New Zealand have been placed in a tough Group D in the T20 World Cup along side former champions Pakistan and unpredictable Bangladesh.

Dhoni denied that they experimented in this game ahead of the T20 World Cup but said they had to assess a few things before the big tournament.

"This was not an experiment. Viru was not fit so we had to make Virat open the innings. He (Sehwag) will come back into the side. It was important to see how Balaji was playing.

"He has done really well in the IPL season. Death overs have been a concern for us so we wanted to see who are our best bowlers. With Irfan, they are fighting for a slot. If Irfan is not playing, the balance of the team goes a bit haywire. I think Bala bowled really well in this game."

Dhoni also backed Rohit Sharma, who could not score a four, required for India's win in the last ball of the match.

"We planned to keep it till the end. We had two set batsmen. We reached a good position in the end but sometimes it doesn't work out. Rohit Sharma is among the big hitters that we have got down the order. With four runs from one ball you need the team's big hitter to take it on. Unfortunately he was not able to strike," he said.