Skipper Dravid showers praise on his bowlers

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kuala Lumpur: All praise for his bowlers, Indian skipper Rahul Dravid said the key to victory in thrilling low-scoring tie was his team's relaxed and focused approach.

India defeated West Indies by 16 runs in a nail-biting match of the DLF Cup here yesterday to stay in the hunt.

''We just tried to stay relaxed. We did speak about getting a couple of wickets early. In the last couple of games, West Indies has lost wickets quite quickly in the middle order. If we put the ball in the right areas and held our chances, then anything could happen. Our bowlers came back and bowled beautifully, and things really worked out for us,'' said Dravid after the match.

Dravid said that the spell of Munaf Patel and S Sreesanth after mid-break was crucial.

''That was a very important part of the game. Munaf and Sreesanth bowled beautifully, with pace and in good areas. They got us three quick wickets, and then Ajit [Agarkar] came on and bowled a beautiful spell. We kept the pressure on right through. Harbhajan came on later, and RP [Singh] got a crucial wicket, so all in all, the guys bowled really well,'' said Rahul.

Dravid also said that getting a full match after a long period was important for his side.

''It's a long time since we played a full game. The spirit was good. I'll admit that we were disappointed that we didn't bat well.

Our bowlers bowled well in the last game as well, and we've discussed the areas that we want them to bowl. It's nice to see that put into practice,'' said the Indian captain.

Dravid denied that changing batting order resulted in batting collapse. India were reduced too 78 for six and could manage only 162 in the end.

''Irfan [Pathan] didn't play, so we moved Virender Sehwag up from where he's supposed to be playing for us. Yuvi hadn't had a bat for a long time and he was feeling slightly unwell, so we thought we'd give [Suresh] Raina a chance up at four, with Dhoni at six. The thing with Sachin [Tendulkar] and me opening is something that I thought we'd try in the last two tournaments, but we haven't had much opportunity to try it out,'' explained Dravid.

Dravid also praised Harbhajan Singh for his double show with bat and ball.

''One of the positives to come out was the way Harbhajan batted.

We give our lower order a lot of batting, and that was stressed during the camps in Bangalore. It's nice to see that some of that has paid off, at least in terms of Harbhajan, if not anyone else.

When you're playing with just six frontline batsmen, you're taking a bit of a gamble and if people like Ajit and Harbhajan can contribute, which they're capable of, it makes a big difference,'' said Dravid.

Meanwhile, West Indies skipper Brian Lara said that the idea in playing only one strike bowler was to give some of his batsmen chance to play.

''The idea to go with only one strike bowler was to give the batsmen a chance to play. Bradshaw and Taylor had played three games wanted to give them a break,'' said Lara.

Lara however rued that his middle order couldn't encash the opportunity.

''I needed to utilize the batsmen. We know at least now where we stand with respect to batting at number 6 and 7. Batting is a bit of concern hope to sort it out in nets. If these guys don't take the opportunity, they are going to be replaced,'' said Lara issuing a stern warning to his failing middle order.

However, Lara said that the win has not given back any psychological advantage to India.

''I don't think this win has given back psychological advantage to India. They knew they were playing a team that has experimented and if they do make it to the final it would be a different ball game. If they are getting restricted to 162 by a team that played only one strike bowler, I think they are the ones who should be at psychological disadvantage,'' said Lara.

Lara also complimented Sachin on his good display once again.''Sachin is a very good friend of mine and if he scores runs it is attractive to watch a sight to behold. I want my players to learn from a guy like that. He is exceptional talent. I t was nice to see him scoring big runs and hope he does that against Australia too,'' said Lara.

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