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The poor batting performances severely damaged India's chances of progress but their campaign was further compromised by shoddy fielding. A moment's brilliance in the field - an outstanding catch, an alert run-out - is all it takes to turn a Twenty20 match sometimes but India had no such moments of inspiration.
"We were not 100%, our performance was not up to the international standard," Dhoni said. "Your key players have to be in form for a tournament like this. That never really happened for us."
The loss of Virender Sehwag was a significant blow to the team's plans irrespective of how well Rohit Sharma performed the opener's role in the group stages. His absence deprived India of a batsman capable of winning a match single-handedly and also created a gap in the middle order that had to be filled from the reserves.
It was the failure of the middle order, though, that hurt India the most. They constantly changed the line-up, sending Dhoni at No. 3 during the warm-up games and the group matches but he struggled to make an impact, scoring 6, 9*, 26 and 14. Suresh Raina came in at one drop during the Super Eight games against West Indies and England but he too failed to contribute significantly. Dhoni had said earlier that the choice of No. 3 depended on which opener had got out.
Dhoni was typically candid about his own form. "I am not consistently clearing the park that is for sure. I am here to admit that and I am working hard on it," he said. "I feel cricket is not only about hitting sixes because there are quite a few players in our team who have to play different roles in Twenty20 or the one-day format.
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