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 India will be tough to beat, says Dhoni

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PostSubject: India will be tough to beat, says Dhoni   India will be tough to beat, says Dhoni EmptyFri Jun 05, 2009 7:21 am

Friday, June 05, 2009
From our correspondent

LONDON: India captain MS Dhoni declared on Wednesday that his boys will be tough to beat in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 Championship after the Indians thrashed old rivals Pakistan by nine wickets in a warm-up game in front of a sell-out crowd here at The Oval.

Dhoni was delighted at the way India eased past Pakistan in the high-profile practice game and said that his team has gained a lot of confidence through the result ahead of its opening game of the tournament later this week.

“We did well to beat Pakistan today and if we continue playing to our potential we will be a tough team to beat in this competition,” said Dhoni who led India to a title-winning triumph in the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship in South Africa in 2007.

India defeated Pakistan in the final of that event. “It will add to our confidence as we go into the tournament with a victory like this,” said Dhoni, whose team lost to New Zealand in its opening warm-up game.

However, Wednesday’s practice game had little or no similarities with that enthralling finale in Johannesburg as the Indians just raced to victory against a rusty Pakistan with an enviable ease.

However, Dhoni tried to dispel the impression that India cruised to a resounding triumph with facing much of a fight against Younis Khan’s misfiring men.

“In Twenty20 cricket score cards can be misleading,” he said. “It’snever easy to beat Pakistan. They are tough to beat in any circumstances. Today they started very strongly but we got the wickets at the right time,” he added.

Dhoni was happy that his bowlers restricted Pakistan to 158 on a batting wicket after Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shahzad gave their side a blistering start. “We did well to restrict them to 158 and then the openers made the job easy for us.”

Dhoni said that he knowingly gave the ball to his left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan after Pakistan promoted big-hitting Shahid Afridi up the order in a bid to accelerate their run-rate.

Irfan has been hugely successful against Afridi and didn’t disappoint Dhoni as he scalped the senior all-rounder for a duck.

Opener Rohit Sharma struck a whirlwind 80 while Gautam Gambhir struck an unbeaten 52 to guide their team to a convincing win. Dhoni was all praise for Sharma, saying that the batter’s good form has given him an extra option at the top of the batting line.

And with India’s first-choice opener Virender Sehwag still not fit, Sharma could well be opening the innings for the Indians in their first match of the tournament on June 6 against Bangladesh in Nottingham.

“It’s good to have Sharma in such fine form,” said Dhoni. The Indian captain is expecting Bangladesh to come out with a solid showing on Saturday.

“Bangladesh can certainly pose a challenge,” he stressed. “They won’t have the fear of losing. They will go for their shots.” Dhoni was pleased with the forceful support his team received at The Oval but said that it didn’t pose any extra pressure on his players.

“Anywhere we play, fans turn up to support us. It was really fantastic today with such a huge crowd which I think may not come to any of the tournament matches.”
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