For Mahendra Singh Dhoni, looking for an “easy game,” the laborious five-wicket triumph over the Netherlands, was not easy at all. But, he seems to have loved the “experience.”
The script was pretty much like the one witnessed against Ireland on Sunday. Chasing a modest total of 207 then, India had stumbled to 100 for four before winning by five wickets. In a similar situation on Wednesday, it recovered from 99 for four for an identical victory margin.
Dhoni said “it was a good experience to have” since it “exposed the middle-order to batting under pressure. At four down for 99, no matter which team you are playing against, there will be pressure.
“When you face the so-called weaker teams, you want to take the run-rate up. So, our players batted aggressively and not all were successful,” he added.
On the question of persisting with Piyush Chawla, he said: “Today, it was not a matter of the team needing a player. It was a case of which player needed the game. I thought Chawla bowled more freely today.
“Try to understand his state of mind. He made his debut when he was very young and is making a comeback in such a big event. It was a crucial game for him and it must have given him plenty of confidence. Overall, I am very happy for him.”
Dhoni also hinted at young off-spinner R. Ashwin getting “at least one game. He is the kind of player who is up for any challenge. It is good to have someone like him with such mental stability,” he said.
“Our spinners have done a decent job. Some players are happy to block Harbhajan Singh and go after Yuvraj Singh. That's probably why Yuvraj is getting wickets,” said the Indian skipper, quickly adding that “I've always believed that Yuvraj is a big-match player.”
When asked whether the team would continue with experiments in the two remaining league games, Dhoni said, “We are not experimenting as such. We've tried out a few things. Now we face two of the better teams. It is important to gain momentum (ahead of the knock-out games). We will look to improve our fielding.”
Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain, was pleased to look at the positives from the tie.
“We had a chance to win when India was 99 for four. But, Dhoni and Yuvraj did really well. We had some good moments of cricket and it was great to come back from where we were.”
Pieter Seelaar, who claimed the wickets of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Yusuf Pathan, obviously picked the scalp of the “best batsman in the world” as “very special.”
“I didn't know what I was doing at that moment (after getting Tendulkar's wicket),” Seelaar said.