Openers set up the match for us: Dhoni

MS Dhoni praised his opening batsmen Gambhir and Sehwag for giving the team a flying start to lay the foundation for their six-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

updated: July 09, 2008 17:08 IST
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Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised his opening batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag for giving the team a flying start to lay the foundation for their six-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Friday.

"They have given us some great starts in the competition and it has made the job of chasing big totals easier for us," Dhoni said at the post match press conference.

Sehwag and Gambhir put on 92 runs for the opening wicket in 11.4 overs to plot India's easy win over Sri Lanka and set up a summit clash on Sunday against the same opponents.

"Even though the wickets in this tournament have been very flat, and that is why we have seen totals of 300, still you need good starts to take the pressure off the middle order batsmen," he said.

Dhoni said normally if a team had to chase 300 runs there was nervousness and confusion at the interval. "But in this tournament due to the pitches everyone is relaxed and knows it is possible (to chase down)." He said it was a great feeling to be in the final which would be a tough one against a very good side.

The Indian captain insisted that the performance of the bowlers in the tournament should not be a criteria to assess their worth.

"Let us be clear that we have a bunch of very talented and exciting players. But the pitches have nothing in it for the bowlers even the spinners have got little turn so it has been hard on them and put more responsibility on the batsmen," Dhoni added.

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene said he was more comfortable playing India in the final. "I think Pakistan can be a very dangerous side playing a big match in front of its home crowd. So in a way we have cut that element of crowd support out. It is good for India and Sri Lanka they don't have to worry about this factor." Jayawardene said his team had fallen 25 to 30 runs short of posting a defendable total.

"We lost wickets when our batsmen were set. You need a big hundred from someone which we usually get to post a big total," he said, adding that he was not disappointed with today's result.

"What is important is how we executive our plans and strategies in the final which is the big match for us," he said.