After losing the first T20 of the two-match series against West Indies at Florida on Saturday, Indian skipper MS Dhoni admitted that his shot execution on the last ball, which led to his dismissal, went wrong. Dhoni also heaped praise on KL Rahul, who struck his maiden T20I century in the match.
India almost had the match in the bag before the last over. Everyone thought India would win, but they lost by the narrowest of margins. Chasing a hefty total of 246, KL Rahul took India agonisingly close to a win by playing a magnificent knock of 110 from 51 balls. From chasing 12.3 per over at the start, India had brought down the equation to just 8 runs in the last over. Although it seemed easy, Dwayne Bravo dashed all Indian hopes by bowling a brilliant last over. He conceded just 6 six runs in the over and outfoxed Dhoni in the last ball with a slower delivery to win the match for the Windies.
Even the last ball, the thinking was right, the execution was wrong."
Speaking after the match, Dhoni admitted that his shot execution on the last ball went wrong, but the thought process of going for a big shot was right.
"I feel there were plenty of positives in this game because the way we chased down 245 runs, apart from the last ball," he said after the match. "I felt we were totally in the game. Even the last ball, the thinking was right, the execution was wrong."
The skipper also added that he knew what Bravo was going to do, but praised the West Indian for executing his skills in a pressure situation.
"When it comes to Bravo, I feel in the current scenario he's among the best when it comes to the death bowling," Dhoni said. "The amount of experience that he has really counts so you always know if he's bowling it's tough. What then becomes important is how we're executing.
"You have to really guess what he's looking to
Although it came in a losing cause, Dhoni also praised the efforts of KL Rahul, who struck his maiden T20I century in the match, and became the third Indian to score centuries in all three formats.
I feel that is a strength of Rahul also, compact player but at the same time unorthodox shots."
"He has been very consistent," Dhoni said. "I feel that is a strength of Rahul also, compact player but at the same time unorthodox shots. He plays all over the ground, over covers, mid-off, mid-on. So a complete cricketer. Of course, there's a long way to go for him but the way he has played in the last six months, it's very encouraging to see him bat."
India conceded the third highest total in T20I yesterday, but Dhoni felt that the bowlers did well to restrict West Indies to 245 when they looked on course for much more.
"I felt the way the boys performed overall was very good," Dhoni said. "If we can improve how we bowl in the first six overs, in fact, it was the first 12 overs where we gave away too many runs. I was very happy how we brought the opposition down when it came to the last eight overs. That really matters because that is something where we have struggled quite consistently but it was a good exposure to our bowlers and they finished up well to restrict them to 245."