We have to be at our best to beat Sri Lanka: Dhoni


Mohali: Mar 31, 2011

Disciplined bowling by India saw them beat Pakistan by 29 runs on Wednesday to set-up a World Cup final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday.

Pakistan, chasing 261 for victory, were dismissed for 231 with a ball to spare after all of India’s five bowlers took two wickets apiece.

Misbah-ul-Haq, who top-scored for Pakistan with 56, helped take them from 208 for nine to a situation where an unlikely 30 was needed off the last over.

But Zaheer Khan held his nerve, bowling four dot balls before Misbah holed out to Virat Kohli to the delight of a capacity crowd.

India’s 260 for nine after winning the toss against their arch-rivals was built around man-of-the-match Sachin Tendulkar’s 85. But they might have made considerably less had not the star batsman been dropped four times in an innings that still left him one short of a hundred international hundreds.

Left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz led Pakistan’s attack with career-best figures of five for 46.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who won the toss and batted, said it was important to treat the slowing PCA Stadium pitch with respect.”We got off to a fantastic start through Virender Sehwag and Sachin (48 runs in 5.5 overs) but as the game progressed the wicket got slower, and in the middle overs it was difficult to score,” said Dhoni.

“It was important to just play the bowling with respect. 260 was a good score for this pitch. It was turning.”

Dhoni said the track was not a typical pacer-friendly Mohali wicket but added that the move behind including pacer Ashish Nehra was to give the team more bowling options. “We misread the wicket. It was not a normal Mohali track. It usually does not help the spinner, but it did today. Our spinners really bowled very well and that really put pressure on them,” he said.

On Saturday s final clash against co-hosts Sri Lanka, Dhoni said he is anticipating a keen contest. The Sri Lankans have a good side and they have done really well in the tournament. We have to play good cricket to beat them. We have to be at our best,” he said.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi admitted his team had missed their chances to dismiss Tendulkar who was dropped on 27, 45, 70 and 81 in a butter-fingered fielding performance. “We missed some opportunities and they played better than us. We didn’t make partnerships and we played some irresponsible shots. I want to say sorry to my nation – we tried our level best.”

AFP (with inputs from CricketCountry Staff)