By: Reuters | | Melbourne | | March 19, 2015 6:42:26 pm
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised his team mates for the way they have quickly pulled themselves out of a form slump to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.(Full Coverage| Venues | Fixtures)
The defending champions were struggling just over a month ago but have now won seven matches in a row, thrashing Bangladesh by 109 runs on Thursday to reach the last four.
“It has been good, we can’t shy away from the fact that we are playing some good cricket,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
“But at the same time a month back we were struggling. A lot of credit needs to go to the boys and the support staff.”
Dhoni said he was especially pleased with the overall health of India’s game.
India’s batsmen have a well-deserved reputation as being among the best in the world but they have also bowled out their opposition in all seven matches and excelled on the field.
“The good thing is not many players from our side are in the top run-scorers list, but the batting has performed,” Dhoni said.
“That was an area we wanted to improve (bowling teams out) Even in New Zealand and South Africa, we were struggling with that, but now we are doing much better. It’s difficult to pin-point how it changed.
“Cricket has a lot of abstracts, but we need to do a lot of the small things right. Put in the intensity and hope it all turns out.”
Batting first, India compiled a daunting total of 302 for six, built on the back of a magnificent century from Rohit Sharma, who completed his first World Cup hundred.
He started cautiously after India slumped to 115-3 but picked up the tempo later on, finishing with an impressive 137 off 126 balls.
“I wanted to bat as long as possible and put the team into a good situation and the bowlers did a fantastic job,” Rohit said after being named man of the match.
“Batting at the top of the order, it’s important to get big hundreds and I want to make the most of it when I go out to bat and I’m happy with the way it turned out.
“We played as a team. Bowlers are taking wickets, batsmen are scoring runs, we just need to take this momentum into the semis.”
Bangladesh, playing in the quarter-finals at the World Cup for the first time, were bowled out for 193 in 45 overs, but won plenty of admirers with their performances during the tournament.
“The toss could’ve been important, we like to bat first but we can’t complain. A score of 300 is always difficult to chase, 280 would have been much better,” Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said.
“Except this game, everyone back home should be happy. Most of the players had only played two or three ODIs before the World Cup and are just starting their careers.
“Hopefully we can carry on from here. We don’t have enough experience to play in this sort of matches, but we now know how we have to play.”