PERTH:(AFP) India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni insisted Friday his team will be primed for their upcoming World Cup title defence, despite ending a miserable tour of Australia without a win.
India bowed out of the one-day international tri-series with another poor batting effort, which condemned them to defeat in their clash with England at the WACA Ground in Perth.
Sent in to bat, India were dismissed for 200 and although England stumbled early, they recovered to edge their way to 201 for seven and win with 19 balls to spare.
That booked England a berth in Sunday’s final against Australia at the same venue.
It ended a fruitless three-month tour for India ahead of next month’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, in which they failed to notch a win in 10 matches, including four Tests and four one-day internationals.
Dhoni conceded their batting had been a concern.
However, he expected his batsmen to regain their best form before the World Cup and said the focus would be on recharging their batteries in the coming weeks.
“From a confidence point of view we are quite good,” he said.
“It has been a long tour so far but with this break now, it will really help us. The guys should be able to come back strong.”
With the winner of the game advancing to Sunday’s final, England looked in deep trouble when they slumped to 66 for five in their run chase.
However, James Taylor and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler rescued their cause.
The pair rode their luck to put on 125 for the sixth wicket and carry their side to within 10 runs of victory, before both fell in quick succession.
Taylor made 82 (122 balls) before holing out to deep fine leg from the bowling of Mohit Sharma in the dying stages of the chase.
Buttler made the most of an early reprieve, when he should have been run out.
He went on to make a match-winning 67 from 78 balls before falling just two runs after Taylor, caught on the boundary from the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
Taylor said England was looking forward to the final with a win handing them a psychological advantage ahead of their World Cup opener in Melbourne.
“It would make a massive statement, no doubt,” he said.
“It is going to be a challenge, they are playing some great cricket at the moment, but we are all looking forward to it.
“We know if we string all three facets together and do them to the best of our ability, which we are getting close to doing, we know we are going to put in a real good performance on Sunday.”
Having been sent in to bat, India squandered the good platform provided by their openers.
They lost six wickets for just 31 runs to slump to 165-9, before some late hitting from Mohammed Shami (25 from 18 balls) and Mohit Sharma boosted their total.
The Indians made an encouraging start to their innings through the previously out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan and opening partner Ajinkya Rahane.
The pair put on 83, but the innings started to unravel when Dhawan was caught behind by Buttler from the bowling of Chris Woakes for 38.
Virat Kohli’s poor series then continued when he was caught by Joe Root from the bowling of spinner Moeen Ali (2-35) for just eight.
Kohli averaged 86.50 during the Test series against Australia, which India lost 2-0, but has been unable to continue that form into the limited overs format, making just 24 runs at 8.00.
From there, wickets fell steadily, with only Rahane offering serious resistance with 73.
Steven Finn’s good series continued when he claimed 3-36 for England, with every English bowler tasting success.