'If you have a partnership then you can build on. I think it was the partnership which was important'
'If the margin of defeat was less it would have been better'
Routed by New Zealand on a turning track, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said more than the Kiwi bowlers it was lack of application on the part of Indian batsmen that resulted in the shock defeat, but he reposed faith in his team to bounce back in the World Twenty20.
Chasing a modest 127, India collapsed to 79, slumping to their fifth defeat in as many games against New Zealand, on Tuesday.
It was their second-lowest T20 total ever.
"I feel it was lack of application and soft dismissals rather than their (New Zealand) bowlers. But they did bowl well," Dhoni said at the post-match media conference.
Dhoni sounded confident of putting this defeat behind them and coming back strong against arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday in Kolklata.
"If it doesn't go the way that we want to go then everybody has to pitch in, what's important is how to make the turnaround, and I think this team has done it time and again in the past," he said.
Dhoni was pleased with the perform ace of his bowlers who restricted New Zealand to a gettable total but argued that scoring runs on a turning track is a difficult task.
"We always knew that the pitch was slow. I think the bowlers did well to restrict them as 140 was par score. The batting department didn't do well, as we kept losing wickets every other over. We did not have any partnership. If you have a partnership then you can build on. I think it was the partnership which was important.
"It's actually difficult to score runs on a spinning wicket than a seaming wicket which becomes flat later. It’s a challenge to score runs on such turning wickets. But this is a good sporting wicket," the Indian captain said.
The Indian skipper cited recent results to buttress his point that batting has actually become challenging on spin-tracks in India.
"You have to see the stats. In the initial days of cricket when I played, the ball was not turning enough even when (Sri Lanka’s Muthiah) Muralitharan was bowling. Stats may say that a batsman has scored a hundred but in the last few matches in India (in Tests) we have got difficult pitches where even a 40 was a good score," he said.
Given the conditions, India should have included Pawan Negi in place of Hardik Pandya, but Dhoni dismissed the idea.
"If you see Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) did not bowl a single over. When we had overs of left-arm spin they had left-handers at the crease. If Hardik is there then you have option of an extra seamer."
Asked if it was a good wake up call, Dhoni said, "It will be good for everybody, not just us, but also the fans. If the margin of defeat was less it would have been better."
When pointed out that the game against Pakistan now has turned into a do-or-die affair and the pressure on the team has increased, Dhoni said after defeat in the opening group game, "every game is now must-win for them".
"There are two more matches after that (game against Pakistan) and there is no match in India where there isn’t pressure on us."