Vadodara:Losing too many wickets in the batting powerplay cost India the ODI series opener against Australia, home team skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni lamented on Sunday.
At 167 for three, India looked well in pursuit of their 293-run victory target before they lost four quick wickets to slump to 201 for seven and Dhoni reckoned the match slipped out of hand at that stage.
"We lost too many wickets during the powerplay which was the turning point. We lost Gautam Gambhir, (Suresh) Raina, myself and Ravindra Jadeja. Full credit to Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar for bringing us so close to the target," said Dhoni after the hosts' narrow four-run loss.
Harbhajan and Praveen used the long handle to good effect to put on a breezy 84-run eighth-wicket stand to bring India agonisingly close to the target.
Dhoni said the strategy when he and Gambhir, who topscored with 68, were batting was to reach 150 around the 30th over.
"But we lost wickets during powerplays, too many in fact. That was the turning point," he said.
Dhoni also blamed his top-order batting for failing to click as a unit.
"We had only one (Gambhir) making a 50. If we had one player making a big hundred, things would have been easier. Otherwise we needed one century partnership and at least one or two over 75. That did not happen," he rued.
Dhoni backed his bowlers, including Harbhajan, but felt they could have done better at death.
"The fast bowlers bowled very well in the first 15 overs. We need some work to do at the death, no doubt. The spinners too cannot be blamed as there's a big difference bowling first when you don't get much help and bowling second when there are footmarks to take advantage of," he explained.
He also felt that young pacer Ishant Sharma has got back into his rhythm by seeing the way he bowled in the match.
"He bowled very well. He had the rhythm going today," he said.
He also pointed out that Australia today had the luxury of six regular bowlers, including Shane Watson, in the match.
Asked about lack of finishers in the absence of Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni said such players didn't come all of a sudden and needed to be groomed.