Wonderful occasion to play final in Mumbai, says Tendulkar
Mohali: After guiding India to the World Cup final with an useful knock of 85, Sachin Tendulkar simply can`t wait to play one of the biggest matches of his illustrious career at his home ground in Mumbai.
"It will be a wonderful occasion to play the final in Mumbai. All we would like is to remain calm and focussed and get the job done," the man-of-the-match against Pakistan said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
For someone who has been a member of the side that has won all its five World Cup matches against Pakistan, the legendary batsman was quick to admit that it would be a "memory that he would always cherish."
Someone who has always put the team before individual performance, Tendulkar lavished praise on young Suresh Raina whose unbeaten 36 provided necessary impetus during the death overs.
"Raina played a special knock. When we started batting, I felt that 310-315 was par-score. But as the spinners came on the ball was stopping and coming. Then I thought that 265-270 will be a good score to defend," Tendulkar stated.
For him Virender Sehwag`s blitzkrieg at the onset gave him and others that extra bit of time to check out on how to proceed with the innings.
"Viru got us off to a flier but then we needed to assess the situation. It was a difficult wicket to bat on and we needed to put up a good score. Full credit to our bowlers as they put up a fabulous show."
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also spoke in the same vein about how the wicket slowly became difficult to bat on as the match progressed.
"If you take the opening partnership out, you would find that 260 was a good score to defend. May be we could have got another 20-30 runs," was what the skipper assessed.
The skipper admitted that his reading of the pitch was wrong but his seamers did a good job.
"We read the pitch wrong but then our seamers bowled exceptionally well. That is why I didn`t need to use a sixth bowler. We don`t have any bowler who regularly hits 140 plus. “
"We have bowlers who have variations and can change plan accordingly. Ashish is a rhythm bowler and Zak (Zaheer) is really goood with his variation. Even Munaf`s strength is bowling wicket to wicket as he has become really smart after playing in IPL."
Dhoni who has already led India to World T20 triumph back in 2007, said that his team is "ready for final."
"It was important to peak at the right time. That`s the beauty of this game. But it`s important to do well on that particular day."
Dhoni`s counterpart Shahid Afridi was a dejected man at the end of it all.
"I congratulate India for this win and wish them all the best for the final. But I should give credit to my boys for their performance. I am proud to lead these bunch of guys."
He praised Wahab Riaz who grabbed five for 46. "Wahab really bowled well."
But the skipper was critical about his batsmen. "The key would have been partnerships and we couldn`t get going. Also we played a few responsible shots. In the end, they played better cricket than us," Afridi was forthright in his evaluation.
About the decision not to take Powerplay till the end, Afridi said,"We thought that we would take the Powerplay when Bhajji would have finished his spell."
The Pakistan captain in the end "apologised" to the nation for letting them down.