Durban:Chasing 290 on the bouncy Kingsmead track was always going to be a tough task, said Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni after the humiliating 135-run loss to South Africa in the first ODI but insisted that the target was gettable had the visitors not lost early wickets.
“Chasing 290 runs was a stiff target especially on the Kingsmead track. If we would have got a good start then we could have fancied our chances,” Dhoni said.
India lost four wickets for a mere 43 runs and Dhoni said the poor start put a lot of pressure on the lower half of the batting order.
“Playing well against quality fast bowlers on new white ball is going to be a huge challenge. This wicket had a bit of bounce but it was not that quick a wicket. We could have negotiated the first 8-10 overs and then could have gone for runs.
“But we lost couple of wickets earlier on and then again we lost few in the middle overs. That put pressure on our lower middle order,” he said.
Despite the heavy loss, Dhoni said the Indians will bounce back in the five-match series, the second game of which is on Saturday at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
“This question was asked when we had lost centurion test. We can play better cricket than this. That way cricket is good game as in every match you start afresh. We have to click as a unit to win matches.” he said.
Asked whether going in with six batsmen was a gamble that didn’t pay off, Dhoni said, “we picked Rohit keeping in mind the Kingsmead wicket. He played reasonably well...got bad decision but it is just part and parcel of the game.
“He bowled and fielded well too. So you can always debate about whether to go in with six specialised batters or five specialised bowlers,” he added.
The skipper also defended the inclusion of Ashish Nehra in the squad despite the pacer being short of match practice.
“Honestly speaking these are the four-five fast bowlers we have got. We do not have many options to play with. So we have to back them to do well. Whether they are in match practice or not what is important is that we take care of these bowlers and they should go in the World Cup without any injuries,” he said
Dhoni said Virat Kohli’s fighting half century was one of the positives he would take from the game.
“Virat batted well and our part timers bowled well. It was good to see Zaheer bowling well and Munaf too. But together we have to click,” he said.
The Indian captain was also generous in his praise for rival medium pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who grabbed four wickets in the match including the prized one of Sachin Tendulkar.
“He is good and a different type of bowler. He bowls at 130kmph speed but he gets bounce. He hits right areas,” Dhoni said.