Indian wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni, who’s slow batting approach against Afghanistan in the ICC World Cup 2019, drew plenty of flak, found backing from his captain Virat Kohli after the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman’s 56* pushed India to 268/7 against West Indies at Old Trafford on Thursday at a time when they were in a spot of bother at 140/4 in the 29th over.
Against Afghanistan, Dhoni took 52 balls to score 28 runs which had reduced India’s scoring rate in the middle overs and they managed to score just 224 runs in their allotted 50 overs. However, against the Windies, the former captain’s 61-ball stay was laced with three boundaries and two sixes. It was after Kohli’s dismissal that Hardik Pandya came to the crease and gave Dhoni a worthy company as the two added 70 runs in 10 overs to take India’s score to 250.
Dhoni, who was batting on 23 off 43 balls at one stage, started opening up more and plundered 16 runs off the last over from Oshane Thomas. He finished on 56 not out 61 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes. Dhoni’s half-century and the subsequent thumping win for India by 125 runs saved the day but questions were still being raised about the India wicket-keeper’s slow batting. In the previous game against Afghanistan in Southampton, too, Dhoni came under the scanner for scoring 28 off 52 balls and getting stumped while trying to accelerate the innings. Against the Caribbeans, too, Dhoni had a close shave as the wicket-keeper failed to dismiss him when he was batting on just eight.
It is important that he takes time
However, Dhoni’s team-mates didn’t find anything wrong with his performance and backed him. Besides Kohli, spearhead Jasprit Bumrah too supported him and felt his knock in Manchester on Thursday was a “top rated” one. The 25-year-old bowler also said that he did the right thing by spending time in the middle. “The innings that he played is the kind which is very under-rated. Sometimes you might feel that he is batting slow but sometimes it is important that he takes time, which he did,” Jasprit Bumrah was quoted as saying on bcci.tv.
As per Bumrah who came up with another dazzling show with the ball by picking two for just nine runs in six overs, the veteran keeper-batsman absorbs the pressure and takes the game deep. He said the team knew there were pinch-hitters coming in next and hence Dhoni could take his time at the middle. ”Youngsters can learn a lot from this knock,” he added.
Bumrah’s wickets came in back-to-back balls and he came very close to matching Mohammed Shami’s hat-trick taken in the last match against Afghanistan.