India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said there was a “sense of calmness” in the innings break as the team backed itself to chase down the 173-run target set by South Africa in the ICC World T20 semi-final. (Report: Kohli special takes India into final)
“There was a sense of calmness in the dressing at the innings’ break (after South Africa put up 172 on the board). Most of the thoughts were positive. Everybody saw that the wicket was better than those we have played on, and they believed they could chase this down. It is not just the self-belief, but the belief in each other that is crucial,” said Dhoni at the post-match presentation ceremony.
India stormed into the final of the World Cup with a resounding six-wicket victory over South Africa, with Virat Kohli once again rising to the occasion with a scintillating unbeaten 76. (PHOTOS: Kohli seals emphatic win)
“There are not many who are as consistent as Virat. It is great to have him at No. 3. He has always grabbed his opportunities. Something everyone needs to learn from him,” said Dhoni.
Dhoni also praised off-spinner R Ashwin, who bowled an economical spell of 3/22 in four overs, for tying down the Proteas in the middle overs. (Full Coverage: ICC World T20)
“Ashwin was brilliant. We kept him back for AB de Villiers. We didn’t want to give him pace. Ashwin was very effective,” he said.
South African skipper Faf du Plessis said Kohli’s knock took the game away from them after his batters had put up a “really good score”.
“It was a very good score against a good attack on this wicket. Credit must go to our batters for putting up a good total. Runs on the board in the semi-final is what you ask for. The bad thing is, M S (Dhoni) and his team know how to chase. They have done it many times,” said du Plessis.
“They paced their innings really well. Virat played a great innings. You have to give him credit.”
Du Plessis, who made a fine 58 off 41 balls, said his bowlers conceded extras more than acceptable.
“I thought we could have been better with the ball. The extras we conceded. If you have to win the World Cup, you have to get those one per-centers right. Unfortunately tonight, you can expect about five wides under pressure, but nine is too much,” he said.
Kohli, who was awarded the Man of the Match, said he backed himself to score freely in the latter part of the innings.
“I had to keep telling myself that I could make up later. I told Raina let’s try to finish in the 19th over. We don’t want to give Dale (Steyn) eight runs to defend in the final over. He can bowl six good yorkers,” he said.
“Today was one of those days when I had to keep my cool. Against a world-class attack, with boundaries not coming, it wasn’t easy. In Twenty20, I continued…