Dambulla:India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said pacer Farvez Maharoof's hat-trick did his side in against Sri Lanka in the inconsequential match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament here on Tuesday.
Maharoof's returned with impressive figures of five for 42, including a hat-trick to sink India to the morale-shattering seven-wicket defeat against the Lankans at the Rangagiri Dambulla International Stadium.
"We were 189 for at one stage. We were looking at a total around 270. I got run out at a crucial stage and then Maharoof ran through our batting. Sri Lanka snatched the match away from us," said Dhoni, asserting that his team would regroup and come out all guns blazing in the summit clash against the same opponents on Thursday.
Meanwhile, architect of Sri Lanka's victory Maharoof said his hat-trick was a result of the hard work he and the team's coaching staff had put in over the years.
"My hard work has paid off. The coaching staff has been working hard with me in trying to get me bowl in the right areas. I did that today and was rewarded with those wickets," said Maharoof.
Maharoof became the third Sri Lankan bowler to capture a hat-trick after Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga.
He achieved the feat in his seventh over of the day, removing Ravindra Jadeja (first ball), Praveen Kumar (second) and Zaheer Khan (third) to turn the match in Sri Lanka's favour.
Maharoof hoped he could produce another dream spell in the final.
"It is one of those days when everything went right for me. I do have a god record on this pitch. I have worked hard for the last 15 to 18 months. Hopefully, I will have one more day like this in the final and we lift the trophy," he said.
"I think (Kumar) Sangakkara took a marvelous catch to help me complete the trick," said the 25-year-old fast bowler, adding, "I was under no pressure. I just planned to put the bowl in the right spot. Fortunately I did that and Zaheer Khan nicked it."
Having been put to grass by a thigh injury, Maharoof had lost his place in the national team to Angelo Mathews, who has since established himself as a batting all-rounder, and Thisara Perera.
The Sri Lankan selectors overlooked Maharoof for nearly eight months, which also saw him miss the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
However, it was the new national selection committee's search for a bowling all-rounder ahead of the 2011 World Cup that returned Maharoof to the side.
Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara heaved praise on Maharoof and said his devastating spell turned the match in favour of the hosts.
"I would say that Maharoof's hat-trick turned the match our way. We never let go the pressure on India thereon. It was great show by a bowler (Maharoof) who wasn't in the reckoning until recently," said Sangakkara.
"The win has done our confidence good. But we know that we will have to start from scratch when we meet India in the final," he added.