Nottingham:India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said poor form of the key batsmen, including himself, resulted in the team's morale-shattering defeat against South Africa in the World Twenty20 here on Tuesday.
The defending champions cut a sorry figure when their much-vaunted batting order failed to chase a modest victory target of 131 runs and sunk to their third straight defeat in the tournament.
Dhoni held the mis-firing batsmen responsible for the defeat.
"I don't think condition was the issue here. Form of some of the players, including me, was the major factor (behind the defeat," a dejected Dhoni said after the match.
"We played with six frontline batsmen and the seventh is an all-rounder. When three of them don't click in a match like this, it becomes really very hard. Throughout the tournament I think we bowled well, wherever we played but we lacked a few things when it comes with the batting," he added.
"Batting wise we were really not up to the mark and unfortunately, throughout the tournament it happened. When we come back in nine months time, hopefully we will be a better prepared side," Dhoni said, referring to the next World Twenty20.
In a clear sign that his popularity has taken a beating after India's disastrous show in the tournament, Dhoni was booed after the match.
Asked about the crowd support, Dhoni said,"The kind of support we get when we play in England. But we have to win games, else we will get booed at the end of the game."
Dhoni was not ready to believe that the Indian team had turned bad overnight and felt they just could not click on those particular days.
"In this format, it's not about what kind of side you are but what you do on that particular day. in all three department. It's a game where you have to be there throughout the 40 overs," Dhoni explained.
His South African counterpart Graeme Smith was happy with the way his team defended a modest total.
"It was a good total. It wasn't a great wicket and the way we defended was great. It showed how far we have come in thinking and the options we have," Smith said.
"The slow bowlers bowled really well. They did a great job today and were well supported in the field. We are excited for the semi-finals. We have adapted to every surface we have played. We will play Pakistan on Thursday and we are very excited," Smith said.
Teammate AB de Villiers, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his brisk half-century, said it was not easy scoring on Trent Bridge's sluggish track.
"I don't think it was the fanciest knock of my life. The trick is to be solid in the first 20 balls and then you can start expressing yourself. It was important to take singles and twos. Later on in t innings, you can look for the big shots," he said.