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Could Have Won With 20 More Runs And Nehra, Says Dhoni

PTI 14 Jan 2010, 10:22:43 IST

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said his team fell 20-run short in the tri-series final against Sri Lanka and could have even won the match but for Ashish Nehra's ill-timed injury. 

Dhoni did not hide his disappointment at the spineless show of the batsmen but felt Nehra's absence made defending a paltry total of 245 even tougher. 

"The loss of the five wickets early was crucial in the match. We were 20-30 runs were short when batting first. Ashish Nehra's absence made us difficult. There was no dew and there was something for the fast bowlers and had he been there it could have been different," Dhoni said at the post-match conference. 

"In fact we were looking to defend the total as there was no dew. The spinners were getting the grip and there was something for fast bowlers also. Had we scored 20-30 runs more and Nehra was there we would have a chance (to win)," he added. 

Nehra was taken off the field after bowling just 1.2 overs during which he had removed Upul Tharanga, apparently due to a groin problem and he did not return to the field. 

Dhoni praised his bowlers for coming up with a good performance but lashed out at the batsmen for poor shot selection. 

"In the last couple of games the bowlers are doing well. We are a team relying more on batsmen but today they came short. The shot selection has not been good," said Dhoni. 

Dhoni, however, did not buy the argument that centurion Suresh Raina should have stayed back further and got more runs. 

"It would be a little greedy to say that he should have got more runs. Reviving the innings from 60 for five was superb. He was out trying to push the score but since there has been dew in all the earlier matches he must have thought that we need more runs and so play shots," he said defending his young batsman. 

Asked about the difficulty of any spinner other than Harbhajan getting into the playing XI, Dhoni said, "Ravindra Jadeja is shaping up into a very good all-rounder. So it is tough for other spinners to come in but that is the way it is happening now." 

Pacer S Sreesanth has bled runs in the tournament without taking too many wickets but Dhoni said he had preferred him to young Sudeep Tyagi on the experience count. 

"Sudeep Tyagi did well in the two matches he played. But he is young in international cricket and he will have to learn more," he said. PTI