Chennai: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the change in behaviour of the Chepauk strip in the second half as the reason for home team`s one-run loss to New Zealand in the second T20 International on Tuesday.
"The wicket slowed down and it was difficult to hit. It`s among the bigger grounds. It was holding up not like all the balls have same bounce. In the end it became quite difficult. But we should have won this game," Dhoni, who scored a sedate 23-ball-22 said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"Our worry was how the wicket would behave in the second half. This is one area where we were expecting the wicket to be the same. After the 10th or 12th over, it got tough. Had it remained the way it was in the first half, we would have fancied our chances," he said.
Dhoni feels that form of his batsmen especially Virat Kohli has been a big positive for India with an eye on the World T20 starting next week in Sri Lanka.
Chasing a target of 168, the trio of Virat Kohli (70), Suresh Raina (27) and comebackman Yuvraj Singh (34) tried to shift the momentum in favour of the hosts but in the end, failed to avoid a one-run defeat against New Zealand in the second and final Twenty20 international.
"Virat gave us a very good start. After that, Raina and Yuvraj also batted really well. A lot of positive for us before the start of the World Cup," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Dhoni said to have few games in the kitty before the World Cup will help them in their quest for second title triumph.
"To play a few games before getting into the World Cup is very important. Two more games in Sri Lanka...That means we will get into the groove," he said.
Dhoni said the batsmen are in good shape to play the big shots at the start of the innings going into the World Cup.
"One of the biggest worry for me was play too many shots at the start of the innings. Now, we are in good shape to play the big shots. It was good to see the approach at the start of the innings. It`s good for us going into the World Cup," he added.
New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor hoped to take this confidence through to the World Cup.
"Brendon McCullum batted brilliantly to give the 160-plus score. The bowlers also bowled well. Franklin needs a big pat on the back. Hopefully we can take this confidence through," Taylor said.
He said the dismissal of Kohli was the turning point of the match.
"Kohli could have taken it away from us and good catch by Southee."
Man-of-the-series McCullum, on his pitch collision with pacer Kyle Mills, said, "My head`s ok. Kyle`s a bit dazed at the moment. That was pretty nasty. The collision was probably my fault."
"Pitch was really good for 20 overs. A lot of our guys are getting more worldly when it comes to these conditions," he added.