India fell 18 runs short while chasing 240 runs set by New Zealand in the first semifinal of the ICC World Cup 2019 at the Old Trafford in Manchester. Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar said that maybe MS Dhoni coming in at No. 5 ahead of Hardik Pandya would have made a difference for India.
Dhoni should have batted at five: Tendulkar
Batting first, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson played two invaluable knocks to post a challenging total on the scoreboard. Williamson stitched two crucial partnerships with Henry Nicholls and then Taylor to post 211 in 46.1 runs before rain played a spoilsport at Manchester. Meanwhile, New Zealand assessed the conditions in the morning and preferred mostly on the ones and twos to post 239 runs on the board.
While it looked like an easy chase, but Matt Henry and Trent Boult did an outstanding job with the new ball, blowing away India’s top-order to leave them at five for three and then 24 for four. India made a comeback first through Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya and then Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni partnership to lead the revival. Jadeja in particular, played arguably his best ODI knock to get India deep but his dismissal put Dhoni under pressure who once again struggled to find the boundaries. A brilliant piece of fielding from Martin Guptill ended his vigil and took the game away from India; thus ending their World Cup campaign.
Speaking at the end of the game, Sachin Tendulkar emphasised that MS Dhoni coming in at five ahead of the Hardik Pandya could have made the difference for team India. Tendulkar also praised Dhoni for controlling the game beautifully along with Ravindra Jadeja. Dhoni came to bat at seven after Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik which took everyone by surprise and attracted a lot of criticism on social media.
“In a crunch moment like this would you think of promoting Dhoni and control the game. Towards the end, he was talking to Jadeja and controlling the proceedings. Very smartly he was rotating the strike,” said Sachin to India Today.
“Instead of Hardik, maybe Dhoni coming in at No. 5 would have made a difference. Dhoni would have for sure done something and made sure on either side of him,” he concluded.