Dharamsala: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday heaped praise on his bowlers for their superb show but also said that he was surprised at the pitch helping the pacers in his side's emphatic six-wicket win over New Zealand here.
"Fantastic performance from the fast bowlers. We had no clue it would help the fast bowlers," Dhoni said after the match at the HPCA Stadium.
"Hardik (Pandya) exploited the good length, a short of a good length. Umesh is somebody who has been quite quick consistently, he has gone from fit to one of the fittest. Hardik is deceptive, you think he'd bowl 132, but he crosses 135 consistently. Both Mishra and Axar bowled well. They did go for some runs," he added.
Dhoni felt that the early New Zealand wickets taken by his bowlers settled the issue in his side's favour after he opted to insert the visitors.
"If we did not take early wickets, it was a 280-300 wicket," the Indian captain said.
"At times, the toss can be very crucial in this series."
Talking about his batting, Dhoni, who was run out on 21, said, "Important to bat in the middle, I was in no hurry. The more deliveries I play, the better for me."
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson rued that his side was done in by some early dismissals while also conceding that the Indian bowled well.
"We had to weather the storm a little bit, the first 10 overs they (India) bowled really well and some soft dismissals. Disappointing with the bat. A little up and down with sideways movement (regarding the pitch). We lost too many wickets too early," he said.
"Looked a bit worse, so some good scrapping towards the end. India were too good, very good chasing side and they showed it today. We were below par in all areas, we need to step that up. We're a tough unit, so we need to stick together and have to play our best cricket to beat India."
Hardik Pandya, who was adjudged man of the match in his debut ODI, said, "On a debut, getting the Man of the Match is special. This moment I will cherish in my life. Very happy.
"Good to be back, I was nervous a bit, but I bowled a lot in Australia and the domestic season. I wasn't looking to bowl fast, wanted to bowl with rhythm. On this wicket, I was focusing on a Test match length, a good length," said Hardik who took three wickets for 31 runs.
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who took 3/49, said, "Dhoni told me to go after the wickets, it's a good batting wicket. A good chance to prove myself. Anil bhai (Kumble) is a good help for me, teaching me how to bowl on flat tracks. Always talking about mental toughness."...