Dhoni hails India's comeback spirit

KOLKATA • Mahendra Singh Dhoni hailed India as cricket's comeback kings, after they again followed up an early defeat in a major tournament with an emphatic win to kick-start their bid for World Twenty20 glory.

After their shock loss on Tuesday to New Zealand in their first match, the hosts cruised to a six-wicket victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in Kolkata on Saturday.

In the cauldron-like atmosphere of a packed Eden Gardens, Dhoni's men held their nerve and reached the target of 119 with 13 balls remaining.

The welcome victory after the humiliating 47-run loss against the Kiwis came as no surprise to veteran skipper Dhoni, who was captain when India won the inaugural World T20 in 2007 and the 2011 one-day World Cup after stuttering starts to their campaigns.

"If you see we have been in this position many times. We know how to turn it around," he told reporters at Eden Gardens.

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To have a very bad game or a very bad series and to come back strong, it's the kind of character the boys have.

M.S. DHONI, India captain, on why the win erased the pain of losing to New Zealand.

"To have a very bad game or a very bad series and to come back strong, it's the kind of character the boys have.

Dhoni hit the winning runs in Kolkata, where he played second fiddle to batting maestro Virat Kohli.

The latter appeared supremely calm during his unbeaten knock of 55, which was more than double the next highest score by a batsman on either side.

After India lost three early wickets, Kohli and Yuvraj Singh then put together a 61-run partnership before Yuvraj fell to Wahab Riaz, bringing Dhoni to the crease.

Indian newspapers hailed Kohli's assured innings as a "masterclass".

India will now look to pick up the run rate in their remaining group matches against Bangladesh and Australia, two teams who also lost their opening games.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2016, with the headline 'Dhoni hails India's comeback spirit'. Print Edition | Subscribe