The ongoing One-day series between India and New Zealand is tipped as a crucial series for Mahendra Singh Dhoni with respect to his career and its longevity. Losing the second ODI match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground would not make a huge dent to his career plans by any stretch of imagination. The visitors’ six run victory in New Delhi has opened up the series which has been desperately looking for some fight from the Kiwis. If it gets any more closer, it would lead to Dhoni and Team India finding themselves on a sticky wicket.
Dhoni does not suffer losses in short formats well. However India’s short format skipper didn’t look too perturbed by the setback. Speaking to the media after the match, Dhoni said, “If you see…we lost wickets regularly whenever a partnership happened. We lost wickets like that. In such run chases it is important that you keep wickets in hand because we were scoring runs. In the end if you need 6/6.5 per over, it is achievable. But the problem was that we kept losing wickets after regular intervals. In the 41st over, we lost two wickets. It is not about one batsman. Any batsman could have said today that had they batted even 10 per cent more he could have won the game. It is the responsibility of the whole batting unit as a group. I thought the bowlers did well”.
The interaction veered to the now familiar refrain of the crucial aspect of finishing the game—a role that Dhoni has relished and delivered to the maximum till recent times. With youngsters like Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya coming through, he was asked about whether he still wants to stick to that role now. His response was a deftly maneuvered shot. “Yes I wanted to play a few more strokes. But it is not easy when you lose wickets from the other end. You have to build partnerships when that happens. If you are chasing you have to calculate. It is good enough if you can finish in 47-48th over and set the pace of the game accordingly on a difficult wicket”.
He averred that Pandya’s dismissal would be a good learning curve for him and would help the budding all-rounder in his evolution as a vital lower middle order-cum-potential finisher for the team. “He could have (finished the game). The option is always there. You have to target who are the bowlers you want to hit. In these situations even the last ball counts. It is good exposure when you are under the pump. It always teaches you a lot. maybe if that shot would have gone over point or for boundary, it would have been different. It will be harsh on him but he will slowly learn. Whether to finish early or in the last over will be his call”.
Terming the 242 score achievable, he said, “Yes it was par score,” adding that the target could have been achieved if any of the batsmen had batted 15 minutes more. “The bowlers did well to bring us back into the game. Initially it was slightly difficult to contain their batsmen, not to mention that we dropped two catches of Williamson. That had a bearing. Overall I was happy with 240-245 because I felt that was something we could have achieved”.