MS Dhoni’s late blitz saw India reach a competitive 268 for 7 in 50 overs against the Windies in their league game of the ICC World Cup at Old Trafford on Thursday. Virat Kohli won the toss but the Men in Blue did not have their best day with the bat against the Caribbeans. Rohit Sharma was given out – a dismissal that remained suspicious even after the TV umpire gave the verdict – for only 18 and the Indian innings lacked a push in the middle overs before the death overs acceleration. Kohli was the highest scorer for India with 72 in 82 balls, his fourth consecutive fifty in this World Cup, while MS Dhoni remained not out on 56 off 61 balls.
However, even though he ended up with a strike rate of more than 91, Dhoni was struggling to keep the scoreboard ticking in the middle overs and had a poor strike rate in the 50s. His first 23 runs came in 43 balls while the second 33 in just 18. It was his 70-run partnership with Hardik Pandya (46 off 38) in 10 overs that gave India the much-needed push to reach the total they eventually had.
Indian batsmen struggled against the Afghanistan spinners
Though it was a better performance at the end compared to that against Afghanistan, the experts were still not convinced with the way India tackled the spinners. Former India opener Virender Sehwag even brought out a comparison between the ways India played Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan in Southampton the other day and left-arm Caribbean spinner Fabian Allen on Thursday.
Allen gave 52 runs from 10 overs and almost had Dhoni stumped but for the wicket-keeper’s miss. Last Saturday, Rashid had given only 38 runs against India and was fortunate to get Dhoni stumped. Breaking up the figures of Allen and Rashid, Sehwag said in a tweet that the Indian batsmen could not afford to be “so defensive” against the spinners.
He also went on to add that Rashid had given 25 runs in his first four overs the other day, he gave only 13 in the next six. On Thursday, Allen gave 34 in his first five but only conceded 18 in his next five. Dhoni was the one who played more dot balls and Sehwag was certainly pointing out the same in his tweet.
Rashid Khan had gone for 25 in 4 overs , gave away only 13 in his next 6 and today Fabian Allen had given 34 in 5 overs, only 18 in next 5. Can't be so defensive against the spinners.— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 27, 2019