Dhoni praises Sachin as rain plays spoilsport

Published: Saturday, March 7, 2009, 15:02 [IST]
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'Sachin's return to runs a good sign'

Wellington, Mar 06: Rain might have played spoilsport in the second cricket one-dayer between India and New Zealand here, but visiting skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels the positive thing which emerged from todays abandoned match was Sachin Tendulkars return to runs.

Tendulkar scored 61 runs off 69 balls and shared a 76-run opening wicket stand with Virender Sehwag (54) to provide India a blistering start.

"It is a pleasure watching him (Tendulkar) score runs. It is definitely a good sign for our side. If the top order provides a good start, then the rest of the batsmen can play their natural game," Dhoni said after the match was called off following third successive rain interruption at the Westpac stadium here.

India were rocking at 130 for one in 19 overs when rain disrupted the proceedings. After two restarts, the tourists had surged to 188 for four from 28.4 overs when the skies opened yet again, thereby washing out the game.

The India captain also expressed happiness on learning about Rahul Dravids century for Canterbury Wizards againt Central Stags in a New Zealand Cricket first class match at the Mainpower Oval, Rangiora here.

"That is fantastic news and is good for the Test side. But there is still some time to go. Right now we are concentrating on the one-dayers," Dhoni said. Dhoni lauded his batsmen for their efforts in whatever little opportunity they got in the abandoned game.

"When it rains on and off it is tough on the batsmen who are in, as they have to set themselves before going for the big strokes. I am happy the batsmen played well and scored runs in whatever limited opportunity they got today," he said.

He said the visitors could have made a par score had they got the entire quota of 50 overs. "I dont know whether we would have won the game or not, but we were in a good position. If it was a 50-over game, we would have got a par plus score."

Dhoni, however, dreaded the thought of a truncated next match at Christchurch on Sunday and hoped that Ishant Sharma would be back to full fitness before the game.

"We wouldnt want a shorter version at Christchurch. If the batsmen go after the bowlers, there is not much territory to defend as the short square leg boundary is very small. It is tough for the bowlers," he said.

"Hopefully, he (Ishant) will be fit for the next game because you will need your best bowling line-up in Christchurch. He bowled a bit, but I think he will rest for at least two more days. It will be quite tight for the Christchurch game as of now," he added.

Though Kiwi medium-pacer Ian Butler has bowled pretty well in the first two one-dayers, Dhoni felt first change bowlers had struggled in the power plays.

"Whichever bowler has bowled one change has struggled a bit. Even in the New Zealand side you see the one change bowler always goes for runs. It is a very difficult position for a fast bowler to bowl. The 10 extra overs of power play are not helping them. And it is normally the one change fast bowlers who bowl in the powerplays."

thatsCricket (With Inputs from Agencies)

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