Dhoni: Bowlers failed to keep up the pressure


India captain MS Dhoni rued his bowlers' inability to keep the pressure on the South Africa batsmen as the Asian side went down to a seven-wicket defeat to the Proteas in the first T20 on Friday.

India were sent into bat by Proteas captain Faf du Plessis and amassed a hefty total of 199 for five in their 20 overs with opener Rohit Sharma scoring his first century in T20 international cricket.

The Proteas though chased down the target with two balls to spare thanks to an unbeaten 68 from JP Duminy and a fifty from AB de Villiers.

Dhoni said after the game: "Looking at the conditions it was more of a war of batsmen. At times you have to take pressure off the bowlers, definitely the sides will hit big shots.

"Once you get hit, how you come back and bowl the next delivery that is very important. You can't get hit for three sixes or boundaries in an over that gives a lot of runs and gives momentum to the opposition batsmen.

"There were phases in the game, at least two phases of four deliveries each where we gave away lot of runs. That actually put lot of pressure.

"Overall I think, when you score 200 on a good wicket, there will be considerable pressure on the bowlers to defend because opposition will also look to chase down the total."

India will hope to level the three-match series in the second game on Monday in Cuttack.