Series win a collective effort, says elated Dhoni

Published: Friday, November 16, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Gwalior: Indian skipper Mahendra Dhoni praised his players' collective effort after they won the fourth one-dayer against Pakistan on Thursday to clinch the series.

India won by six wickets, scoring 260 for four replying to Pakistan's 255 for six, taking an unassailable 3-1 lead with a game to spare.

''Cricket is a team game, all the boys contributed to the fantastic win. When the bowlers were not doing well, the batsmen did well and when the batsmen fail, bowlers had chipped in,"" he told reporters after India's six-wicket series clinching victory over arch rivals Pakistan here.

Indian team cricket manager Lalchand Rajput also said all the team members contributed to the series win. ''The whole team has contributed to the win. We played as a team,'' Rajput said.

Dhoni, however, said his bowlers need improvement especially while bowling at the dead. ''I thought Pakistanis bowled better at the dead,'' adding that batsmen had run away with lots of runs because of the nature of pitches in the ODIs.

The Indian captain said he was surprised by his counterpart Shoaib Malik choosing to bat after winning the toss.

''There were lots of dew while we did net session last night.

I do not know why he chose to bat first. Had I won the toss, I would have elected to bowl first,'' he said.

Dhoni, who wore on his right shoulder a batch issued on the commemoration of 75th year of establishment of the Indian Air Force, harped on the importance of his batting in tandem with Yuvraj Singh in the middle and slog overs.

''We have a very good understanding and it helps the team. We are both stroke makers, at times when I only score ones and twos he will play the shots and score the boundaries and it is vice versa when he could not get the boundaries,'' Dhoni said.

A disappointed Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said 255 was a competitive total and India won the match because his new ball bowlers had conceded lots of runs.

''The new ball bowlers failed to contain the Indian batsmen especially Tendulkar and we lost,'' he said.

Malik was philosophic when asked how his team members feel after losing the series to their arch rivals.

''It hurts, but we are professionals and we have to live with it,'' he said.

Malik said his team would want to win the final ODI at Jaipur to carry the momentum to the three-match Test series with the first match beginning in New Delhi on Nov 22.

'Team sad over Tendulkar jinx': Despite the series win team was sad over Sachin Tendulkar's repeated failure to convert nineties to hundreds, captain Dhoni said.

Tendulkar missed out yet another chance to score a hundred while on nervous nineties for the sixth time in less than five months.

He was out on 97 in the 30th over to the dismay of the capacity crowd, playing on an Umar Gul delivery to the stumps.

Since June 26, Tendulkar could not score his elusive 42nd ODI hundred, conceding his wicket on nervous nineties six times: two each against South Africa (in Ireland at 99 and 93), England (at 99 and 94) and in this series (99 at Mohali and 97 Gwalior). His last century was on January 31 at Vadodara against West Indies.

''It is very sad, the team is very sad. He has failed to convert the nineties to hundreds on so many times. God knows when will he score a hundred. I hope he scores it soon,'' Dhoni said at the post-match press conference last night.

''Nothing more can be said of his batting. He has played so long in international cricket and has helped us out. Many players retire even without scoring a hundred and he has scored so many runs, it is amazing,'' he added, when asked why Tendulkar could not overcome the jinx of nervous nineties.

A modest Tendulkar, meanwhile, said it did not really matter whether he scored a century or not if the team was winning.

''It has become a habit to get out in the nineties recently, but is part and parcel of the game. I would want to score a hundred but it does not really matter if I miss out if the team is winning,'' said the man-of-the-match Tendulkar at the post-match presentation ceremony.


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