Mahendra Singh Dhoni said India’s nail-biting one-run win over Bangladesh to keep their World Twenty20 dream alive was all about holding their nerve and being able to “manage chaos”.
India survived a rollercoaster match in Bangalore on Wednesday night that saw Bangladesh come tantalisingly close to chasing down India’s total of 146 for seven, only to lose three wickets in the last three balls.
India finally scraped home when wicketkeeping skipper Dhoni ran out Mustafizur Rahman off the last ball of the match, after earlier taking two critical stumpings.
With two wins and one losses, the victory gives India much-needed momentum as they gun for a place in the semi-finals, with only Australia left to play in the group stages.
Dhoni paid credit to his side for keeping cool and recovering from mistakes in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a packed Chinnaswamy Stadium after showing similar resolve on Saturday in a win over Pakistan.
Dhoni, known as “Captain Cool” and the brains behind India’s onfield strategy, said it was important to listen to all voices in those situations, and then come to your own conclusions quickly.
“In a situation like this, it’s literally chaos. What you are trying to do is you’re trying to manage chaos,” Dhoni said after the match.
“Everybody will come and he’ll have his own opinion. Often the opinion of a batsman is very different to the opinion of a bowler.
“If I am convinced that this is something I want to do, I will go ahead with it but definitely having an open mind at that point of time really helps because at times in situations like these under pressure, that’s where the input of others comes in.
“But you have to assess everything and it has to happen in a very short span of time.”
Dhoni singled out his younger charges including 22-year-old paceman Jasprit Bumrah for overcoming some shaky fielding, including a miss-field turned boundary and a dropped chance off Bangladesh star batsman Tamim Iqbal, to produce some solid bowling.
“These are the games that really make you better players because it pushes you to think in a different way, it pushes you to have that confidence in your strength at the time when it’s really needed.”
The veteran skipper has survived many scares over the years including a slow start in 2007 before winning the inaugural World Twenty20.
India’s prospects also looked grim in the 2011 ODI World Cup after their first two matches against the game’s big guns, before going on to clinch the trophy on home soil.
The possibility of a Bangladeshi win evoked nasty memories for Dhoni of the 2007 50-over World Cup, when India were eliminated in the first round after losing to the Tigers.
Dhoni could still remember the pain of that defeat which came in the early days of his international career.
“That’s something that was very harsh on us, especially on me, I feel that was the point where I felt life was very tough,” he said.
Mashrafe Mortaza hailed his bowlers for keeping India’s batsmen in check, as Bangladesh bow out of the tournament after three straight losses and only in-form New Zealand left to play.
“I think (our) bowlers have done a great job. We were on top till last three balls,” the disappointed captain said.
Bangladesh powered through the preliminary matches, but hit a wall in the group stage, and suffered a major blow when two of their best bowlers were suspended for illegal actions.