Cape Town: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni lauded Yusuf Pathan for his blistering innings and said with more experience the dashing all-rounder can become a good match-finishing batsman for the country.
Pathan produced a terrific 50-ball 59 run innings last night to help India chase South Africa’s total of 220 with 10 balls to spare after being precariously placed at 93 for five at one stage.
“He (Pathan) played his natural game. I want him to continue playing the kind of cricket he plays. As he gets more experience he will turn into a match-finishing batsman,” Dhoni said.
“It was good effort from the batsmen. The lower middle-order also played well. But Pathan was superb,” Dhoni said.
Dhoni also praised his death bowlers for their superb show during the fag end of the South African innings.
“The best thing on Wednesday was our powerplay and death bowling,” the Indian skipper said.
Man-of-the-match Pathan said he was just playing his natural game and it put pressure on the South African bowlers.
“It’s a good win for us. I was just looking to hit the balls which were in my areas. If you let the bowler know you can play the shots, you will play the shots and he will stay under pressure,” Yusuf said.
“I went in thinking that I will play my shots but won’t be in any hurry to play those shots. I will wait for the balls in my area and I was successful doing that.”
Pathan, who hit six fours and three sixes, said it was a bouncy pitch but he played his shots to put the opponent on to the back foot.
“There was bounce in the pitch. But I knew if I played a few shots, things would get easier. If you hit the bowlers, the opposition gets on to the back foot. A lot of things run through the captain’s mind, and you benefit from that,” he added.
The Baroda batsman said with this win, South Africa will be under pressure to bounce back into the five-match one-day series.
“Our team is full of confidence right now,” Pathan said.
“South Africa will obviously be under pressure because they have lost two matches, and we have done better in pressure situation. We made a comeback in the previous game, and here too. So the pressure will be on them.”