Auckland: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday rued that his side did not grab the chances that came their way in the tied third cricket one-dayer against New Zealand here but said he was happy that the visitors can at least draw the five-match series.
"I think we batted well. But if we are to pick situations where we could have closed the game quite comprehensively, those were the situations we did not grab. It is a bit disappointing, but overall a good result as it keeps us alive in the series," he said after the third ODI ended in a tie to leave New Zealand 2-0 up in the series.
"It would have been better had we won today and thought of wining the series. But overall, I am happy we tied the game today to keep ourselves alive. Even if we can't win the series, we can go for the draw," Dhoni added. Chasing 315 for a win, India ended at 314 for nine with Ravindra Jadeja (66 not out) very nearly pulling off a sensational victory though he failed to take the visitors home in the end. India will now have have to win the remaining two matches in Hamilton (Jan 28) and Wellington (Jan 31).
Dhoni said the run chase could have been easier had India restricted New Zealand less than the 314 they scored. "I think the straight boundaries were quite short, and overall 300 would have been fantastic. We had a chance to restrict them but we couldn't quite do it," he said.
"The bowlers who bowled quick, their strengths are all about going full and going for yorkers. And, when it does not happen that way, then you got hit," he said, talking about his bowlers' performance. He patted Jadeja and R Ashwin (65), who shared 85 runs for the seventh wicket to raise India's hopes of a stunning win, for their gutsy efforts.
"I had faith in them (Ashwin and Jadeja), but my problems started when Jadeja told Bhuvi what he needs to do. "Ashwin should have batted till the end, but this is also the first time he was put into a position like this. I definitely feel that he's someone who can definitely bat like a batsman. He has improved his power hitting as well, which he has been working on."
Man-of-the-Match Ravindra Jadeja was happy that he had contributed for the team's cause. "I feel very happy because I have done something for the team. I just wanted to play till the last ball, but unfortunately we didn't cross the line, but we have learned a lot from this game. I think we bowled well, but the straight boundaries are very short," he said.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum patted India for their fighting spirit. "I thought it was a brilliant game of cricket. India showed why they are one of the powerhouses of India cricket. We thought we had a powerful score, but I guess that wasn't the case," McCullum said.
"They did well to get as close as they did. But credit to India for standing up and not lying down at any stage and keep us on our toes," he added. McCullum also felt that his side could have won the match had they grabbed the chances that came their way.
"We had a few opportunities at the end which we didn't take, which does hurt. We don't tell the batters anything. We just trust they know their games and if they play well then they can definitely get us in a position," said the New Zealand captain.
"We didn't' utilize the position well initially when we lost a few too many wickets at one stretch. I thought our guys bowled pretty well. We missed a few times, but that is the nature of ODIs, and it hurt when it did. There was a bit of sloppiness in there, but it is hard to fault what was a brilliant game of cricket."