Billions of peoples hope ended on 10th July when India lost the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The mega event raised the questions on India’s batting order. The prominent one was ” Why MS Dhoni was sent at No. 7?”
In the tournament, India won 7 matches out of 10, while the two defeats were against England (in the League Stage) and New Zealand (in the semifinal) and one was washed out of because of rains (against New Zealand in the League Stage).
India and New Zealand played the semifinal match for two days because the rain halted the match on the scheduled date. India impressed everyone with the bowling attack and the Kiwi managed to score 239/8 (50 overs).
The hopes of every cricket lover increased that India would easily chase down that target. But it shocked everyone when the top-order batsmen, including Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, lost their wickets early. India was at 24/4 yet the hopes didn’t die as everyone was waiting for MS Dhoni. The experienced was send at No.7 when India was at 71/5. Everyone wondered why Dhoni was sent so late when the team was struggling to score runs.
In an interview to India Today, Indian head coach Ravi Shastri answered the question of Dhoni being sent at No.7. He opined that it was a calculated step keeping in mind the quality of Dhoni as the match finisher.
“Absolutely not (on whether India should have promoted Dhoni). Because at 5 for 3, had Dhoni gone, the game was over. But with Dhoni in the 48th over, with his computer out. Oh, you were very much in the game but for that run-out.”
“And what is Dhoni’s strength. I will argue with anyone who wants to argue. What is Dhoni’s strength? What is he known for? The best finisher in the game. So where should he be batting….at the finish or at the top?”
Ravi Shastri was confident that MS Dhoni could finish that game perfectly if remained not out
Dhoni and the all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja built up a strong partnership of 116 runs. Nevertheless, it ended after Jadeja (77) got out on the team’s total of 208, and in the next over, Dhoni was run out. Every dream got shattered seeing Dhoni going back to the dressing room after scoring fighting 50 runs. India lost that semifinal by 18 runs.
“So, Jadeja made things happen. It was a brilliant inning, we were nowhere. He made the game and there was the perfect orchestrator there, MS to finish it off. And I will tell you what, his computer was out. He knew who is going to bowl one over or six balls were calculated. It was all in his computer, but for that run-out but that’s the game,” Shastri said on the 3rd episode of India Today Inspiration.
“We lost by 16 (18 runs). He got out at 10 balls to spare. 10 balls to spare, MS Dhoni and 20 needed. You are talking about the best finisher in the game, there is an over up his sleeves that is calculated. What is 20 in 10, 2 hits over the rope it is 8 in 8? It is a tough pill to swallow.
“We guys had a lot to learn from them. It was a really tough pill to swallow. I don’t think anyone spoke to each other for a day or so. It was hard, but you play sport. The men play this game. Proper men. Learn from that experience and move on. That’s why I respect this team,” Shastri added.