Over quite some time now, there has been a debate over MS Dhoni’s batting position. The veteran wasn’t at his best in the league stages of the 2019 World Cup and had to face a lot of criticism for his indifferent approach in the middle overs. He was getting the runs but wasn’t able to press the accelerator in the hour of need. In the semi-final against New Zealand, he came to bat at number seven.
At that time, the Men in Blue needed 149 runs with half-the-side back in the hut, chasing 240 at the Old Trafford. The 38-year-old put his head down and along with Ravindra Jadeja got India back into the contest with a 116-run stand. Dhoni was there in the penultimate over of the run chase, but a direct hit from Martin Guptill led to his dismissal. He scored 50 off 72, but couldn’t take his team over the line.
It was a tactical blunder, says Laxman
India lost the game by 18 runs and bowed out of the mega event in England and Wales. After the defeat, VVS Laxman, the former Indian cricketer, feels that Dhoni should’ve batted ahead of Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya. Laxman put forth the example of MSD’s knock in the final of the 2011 World Cup to show what the Jharkhand-born could’ve done if he was set up the order.
“Dhoni should have come ahead of Pandya. It was a tactical blunder. Dhoni should have walked ahead of Dinesh Karthik. The stage was set for Dhoni. In 2011 final also, he promoted himself up to bat at number four ahead of Yuvraj Singh and won the World Cup,” the 44-year-old Laxman was quoted as saying in Star Sports.
India got off to a horrendous start in their run-chase as KL Rahul, Trent Boult and Rohit Sharma could manage a combined tally of three runs. Dinesh Karthik perished cheaply to leave India in the shambles. Rishabh Pant and Pandya notched 32 each but threw their wickets away to Mitchell Santner. Ravindra Jadeja top scored with 77, but his efforts went in vain as India was bowled out for 221 in 49.3 overs.
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