Dhoni, Yuvraj gear up for Twent20 Cup semis'

Published: Friday, September 21, 2007, 17:15 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Cape Town: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and key batsman Yuvraj Singh will take the field in Saturday's Twenty20 semi-final against Australia after recovering from injuries.

Yuvraj missed Thursday's crucial encounter against South Africa due to tendonitis in his left elbow sustained against England the previous day in which he hit Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over.

Dhoni, suffering back pain, handed the wicket-keeping gloves to Dinesh Karthick in the 37-run win over South Africa which propelled India to the top of group E in the Super Eights round.

"I am still smiling so I will hopefully play the next match," said Dhoni.

"It was just a strain in the lower back, on the right hand side. I had the luxury of having Karthick in the side, who is a specialist keeper.

"I did not want to aggravate the injury. I think hopefully it will be fine before the semi-final."

Dhoni said Yuvraj also will be fit against the formidable Australians, adding the left-hander was rested against South Africa as a precautionary measure.

"Yuvi had a bit of a problem with his elbow but he should be ready for the next match as well," the Indian captain said.

"It was decided to leave out Yuvi at the last moment. We wanted to assess his condition and see what exactly the situation was. We wanted to save him for the rest of the season.

"There is no point playing someone who is not fit just for the sake of the team, because throughout the year we play cricket."

An inspired India, restricted to 153-5 in a game they had to win to stay afloat, hit back to stop South Africa to 116-9 in a rousing finish at the Kingsmead on Thursday night.

India, South Africa and New Zealand finished group E of the Super Eights on four points each, but India took the Kiwis along into the semi-finals due to superior net run-rates.

While India await Australia at the Kingsmead here on Saturday night, New Zealand meet group F leaders Pakistan at the Newlands in Cape Town the same afternoon.

Left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh led India's charge with 4-13 from his four overs while Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh claimed two wickets each.

India, who elected to bat after winning the toss, were struggling on 61-4 before Rohit Sharma hit 50 and skipper Mahendra Dhoni 45 to turn the innings around with a stand of 85.

Dhoni said his team's display against the South Africans gave him hope for the semi-final.

"We knew the South Africa game would be among the toughest matches we would play in the whole tournament," he said.

"It was their home ground and the conditions were favourable for them, so we were under pressure and we did not get the start we were looking for."

The captain also had high praise for 20-year-old Sharma, who was named man of the match ahead of Rudra Pratap.

"It was a brilliant performance by Rohit," said Dhoni. "He has been sat out for ages and did not play in England, yet he came out and helped us recover.

"It is always a challenge to play Australia because they are the best team in the world, but I am sure we will be up to the challenge."

India received unexpected support from South African captain Graeme Smith, who said Dhoni's men were capable of upsetting Australia.

"They bowled and fielded superbly and kept us under pressure all the way," said Smith.

"In this format of the game things can change so quickly and if they carry on playing the way they are they have a good chance."


Write Comments