Dhawan's dismissal was the turning point, says Dhoni
Sydney, March 26 (IANS) A crestfallen Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said opener Shikhar Dhawan's dismissal was the turning point in the cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia, which his team lost by 95 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday.
Dhoni said Dhawan was settled in the middle and stroking the ball well till during India's 329-run chase his dismissal for 45 in the 13th over. India were 76/1 after his dismissal but then quickly got reduced to 108/4 in the 23rd over.
"We got off to a very good start, Shikhar's dismissal was slightly on the softer side, at a time when we could have had the bowling under pressure. He didn't really need to play a big shot," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"But you get pressure chasing 300 plus, makes you do things you don't want to do."
Dhawan was striking the ball superbly and had raced to 45 off 41 deliveries, but then fell to right-arm pacer Josh Hazlewood as he chipped down the track to hit him over mid-off, the ball took slice off the bat and landed in the hands Glenn Maxwell in the deep.
The skipper said the pacers could have bowled much better as they conceded a huge total of 328 for seven after Australia won the toss and chose to bat.
"They were looking as if they will score 340 or maybe 350 but we came back quite well. But I felt we could have still bowled well. The reason being, in the afternoon, we got a bit of reverse swing going. I felt the fast bowlers could have done slightly better."
Dhoni also expressed his concern about the lower batting order failing to cope with the conditions and the Australian quicks.
"I don't think they (lower order) can contribute as much in these conditions. So it makes it further difficult (to chase a huge score). But overall, I think it's a good exposure for them. Maybe next time when you are playing in other conditions, they'll know how to bat in these conditions and they'll do much better," he said.
"So our lower-order really needs to work slightly hard on their batting, because most of the good teams, they bat quite deep and we have seen, especially in the knockout stages, you need to do that."
Asked about his plans of retiring from international cricket, Dhoni, who got a brisk 65 in the chase, said: "I am 33, I'm still running, I'm still fit. I will have a year's time. Maybe close to next year during the T20 World Cup will be the time when I will decide whether I can continue till the 2019 World Cup or not."
The captain also thanked the fans for supporting them throughout but stressed that there can only be one winner at the end of the day.
"We have been here for over four months. Thanks to the Indian fans, who were travelling all over from India, England and all the different places. It's a bit disappointing for them, but at the same time when you play a sport, only one team can win," the skipper signed off.