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Dhoni was confident of defending total

A total of 153 in Twenty20 cricket may not look safe enough but Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he was confident of defending the total against South Africa.

India scored 153 for five in the do-or-die match and then restricted South Africa to 116 for nine to record a 37-run win that also opened the semifinal door for the side in the ongoing Twenty20 cricket World Cup.

It was a sparkling display by the pace attack with RP Singh emerging as wrecker-in-chief with four for 13 while his pace colleague S Sreesanth claimed 2-23 to leave the hosts in tatters.

Dhoni insists the rather modest total did not bother him and his optimism stemmed from his trust in the ability of the pacers.

"I think this is the way we need to play professional cricket. We never got the start but had just enough to defend the score.

"We always knew our bowlers, how they troubled the South Africans in Ireland and here too. "So we knew we can defend this total if we get a good start and provide support to bowlers with some good fielding," he said.

And it was not his personal wishful thinking but a collective belief, he said.

"We all believed we'll do it and that's what matters. If you believe you can do it."

Dhoni opted to bat first despite the tinge of green on the track and the Indian captain felt his pacers exploited the conditions to the hilt.

"Seeing the wicket, we were not too much worried about the grass because we knew we have got decent fast bowlers and they can exploit the condition.

"So we were just looking to get a decent score and I think the fast bowlers have proved that they are among the best."

He admitted that the batting order was weakened after Yuvraj Singh sat out of the crucial match with an elbow injury.

"I think we really missed Yuvi. I mean anyone can play but we don't think we have Yuvi's replacement."

His opposite number Graeme Smith rued it was a matter of just having one bad match that slammed the semifinal door on the hosts.

"It's disappointing, for we have played some fantastic cricket throughout the tournament. We lost just one game and we are out of the tournament. India played a good game and they deserve it," he added.

Smith felt batting second was not an easy task on the wicket and losing early wickets -- the hosts were 31 for five inside sixth overs -- was something they could not recover from.

"After that, it was always difficult to get ourselves back in the game," he said.

Rohit Sharma, who struck an unbeaten 40-ball 50, to prop up India, along with Dhoni, was happy that his game plan clicked.

"I just wanted to go out and play my natural game. I had made up my mind that I would not initially play my shots and accelerate later, which I did," said the youngster.

He said the total was a decent total for the wicket had a lot to offer to the pacers and batting second was not easy.

source - hindu.com
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