Chennai, Sep 12: It was a thrilling contest as India lost to New Zealand by a run in the second T20 at Chennai, as Team India skipper Dhoni felt the pitch slowed down during the course of the match, which made things difficult for strokeplay, as batsmen struggled to score runs.
Having won the toss and elected to field, MS Dhoni's men restricted the opponents to 167/5, as Brendon McCullum scored a magnificent 91 off 55 balls to give New Zealand an edge as they posted a challenging total.
Chasing 168 to win, India lost Gambhir early in the innings, as Virat Kohli and Raina took over as they managed to put a 50 plus stand for the second wicket, but slowed down a bit as Virat Kohli got out after scoring his career-best 70 off 41 balls.
Yuvraj Singh, making a comeback after almost a year, played extremely well as the cancer-fighter made a valiant 34 off 26 balls, but couldn't guide India safe as he was dismissed in the 20th over, as Rohit Sharma failed to finish the game as India fell short by a run.
Talking about the pitch, Dhoni said "The wicket slowed down and it was difficult to hit. It's among the bigger grounds. It was holding up not like all the balls have same bounce. In the end it became quite difficult. But we should have won this game."
Blaming the pitch for the loss, Dhoni said if the pitch had remained the same, the team could have fancied their chances, and could have won the match.
"Our worry was how the wicket would behave in the second half. This is one area where we were expecting the wicket to be the same. After the 10th or 12th over, it got tough. Had it remained the way it was in the first half, we would have fancied our chances," he said.
Despite the loss, Dhoni praised Virat Kohli, for giving India a great start in the absence of Virender Sehwag as Yuvraj and Raina also pitched in at the right time, which was a good sign ahead of World T20 that is starting on Sep 18 in Sri Lanka.
"Virat gave us a very good start. After that, Raina and Yuvraj also batted really well. A lot of positive for us before the start of the World Cup," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Moreover, Dhoni was quite confident about his team's chances, as he sais the team would look to play well in the warm-up games which would help them ahead of the mega event.
"To play a few games before getting into the World Cup is very important. Two more games in Sri Lanka...that means we will get into the groove," he said.