Harbhajan’s spell made the difference: Dhoni

Sunday, January 16, 2011

JOHANNESBURG - Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lauded the bowlers, particularly Harbhajan Singh, after the team’s remarkable victory over South Africa in the second One-day International (ODI) at the New Wanderers here.

Though Munaf Patel got the Man-of-the-Match award for his four-wicket haul, it was Harbhajan’s tight spell in the middle overs which put pressure on the South African batsman. The off-spinner took a wicket and conceded 32 runs in 10 overs.

“Harbhajan’s contribution was really important,” said Dhoni.

“The South African batsmen had momentum on their side. The way he bowled, that eight-over spell, giving only 27 runs, they decided not to take Harbhajan on which meant they lost a bit of momentum.

“That really brought us back and after that every body contributed. Munaf’s contribution was brilliant. He bowls straight and varies his pace well.”

Dhoni said the bowlers were successful in maintaining the pressure.

“Putting pressure on the South African middle and lower order was important.

“We knew (Johan) Botha and (Wayne) Parnell can bat, but pressure is a completely different ball game. When you put pressure on the lower order it becomes very different. That is what we wanted to do. At times pressure makes you do things that you are not supposed to do.”

Dhoni explained the series of events in the 43rd over bowled by Munaf where he got the last two wickets and wrapped up the match.

“When you need one or two wickets and the opposition needs three runs, you know they are just one stroke away.

“There is pressure then as to whether the fielder should be in or out to save that boundary. When you come back after losing a toss you blame yourself thinking you could have called heads as opposed to tails.”

“Bringing that point fielder in was a somewhat similar situation. I had just decided to bring Yusuf (Pathan) in and the catch (of Morne Morkel) went his way,” he said.

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