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Dhoni showers praise on Munaf

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Published: Monday, January 17, 2011, 9:36 [IST]
 
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Dhoni showers praise on Munaf

Indian pace sensation Munaf Patel led India's incredible fight back in the second one-dayer against South Africa, at the New Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg, which India went on to win by 1 run. Munaf bowled superbly in tandem with Zaheer Khan, picking up the crucial wickets of Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith before polishing off the tail and thus preventing the Proteas from overhauling India's meagre total of 190. Naturally captain M S Dhoni was full of praise for Munaf.

"Bowlers brought us back in the game. Munaf did the trick for us as getting Amla out was crucial. I think Munaf's spell was brilliant. He bowls straight and varies his pace well. He deserved the man-of-the-match award," he said.

The India skipper also lauded off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (1/32) for his tight spell in the middle overs. "Bhajji's (Harbhajan) contribution was vital too as he bowled that 7-8 over spell in the middle. The momentum was on South Africa's side when Bhajji came on to bowl. The South African batsmen took decision not to attack him and by doing so they shifted the momentum slightly in our favour," Dhoni said.

India's innings was in dire straits till Yuvraj Singh (53 off 68 balls), together with Dhoni (38 off 61), put on a valiant rescue act with an 83-run fourth-wicket after the visitor's lost their first three batsmen for 67 runs. "His (Yuvraj's) role in the batting lineup is crucial. If we get good start then he can come and score quick runs and if we lose few wickets then he can control the game with a solid innings. He played very well in the match.

Finally, Dhoni acknowledged that even when not faced with a situation of adversity, the South Africans could stumble and fall just as India is prone to do."Playing under pressure is totally different scenario. If South Africa lose matches like this they have to face the criticism of being called chokers. That's one thing which will haunt them," Dhoni said. "Same is the case with India as far as playing in the finals of tri-series is concerned."

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