India [ Images ] skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni [ Images ] admitted his side floundered against the short ball and messed up their shot selection in their 49-run defeat to Australia [ Images ] in the T20 World Cup Super Eight match in Bridgetown on Friday.
"We gave away 20 runs too much. Yet the target (184) was achievable. But our shot selection was poor. Also, we did not get off to a start we had hoped for," said a despondent Dhoni.
He said India tried to fight fire with fire and paid the price for the indiscretion.
"Sometimes the adrenalin flow goes wrong. Today, we wanted to fight fire with fire and take on the Australian fast bowlers. We knew we would be peppered with shot balls, which we did not handle too well. It is not easy to attack bowlers who bowl at speeds at 145 kmph," he said.
Stressing on Indian batsmen's inadequacy in encountering the short, rising ball, Dhoni said: "For the last 20 years, India has always had this problem. But we have done well in Durban which is one of the quickest wickets we have played on.
"So we have been successful on and off. But there is room to improve in this aspect."
With India batting deep down the order, Dhoni said he had hoped Indian could have achieved the stiff target.
"We had a longer batting line-up in this game. We had the fire power to chase down a target of 170 to 180. But we lost too many wickets at the start and lost our way in the game," said Dhoni.
Dhoni agreed that India's reliance on spin bowling did not pay dividends.
"Like Australia's strength lies in fast bowling, we have ours in spin. Those two overs when we went for nearly 20 runs in each made the difference.
"We failed to perform as a bowling unit, though we did well not to give Australia 200 runs, which was possible at one stage. The last four overs were good for us," said Dhoni.
Dhoni felt the intensity of the boys was good on the field, despite being under attack from the Aussie batters.
"I was quite happy with the intensity shown by the boys, except when we conceded close 40 runs in two overs. We have to credit the Australians for the performance. They were all over us," he added.
Asked to compare the Australian and South African quicks, Dhoni said: "Both sides have quality fast bowlers, It is very difficult to compare who is better of the two. It depends on a particular day and on how the bowlers respond to the conditions."
Australian skipper Michael Clarke [ Images ] was pleased with his side's performance.
"We had a good start. Once we reached the total we knew that we could win as we had the bowling and fielding to back us," said Clarke.
Clarke said Australia had best opening pair in the Twenty20 [ Images ] World Cup.
"We have the best opening batsmen in the tournament and we are every pleased to have them. They set up the game for us today," said Clarke.
He said Australia relied more on pace than on bounce to unsettle the Indian batsmen.
"There is good pace and bounce in this wicket. But we opted to use pace than bounce to bowl the Indians out," said a gleeful Clarke.