India was 5-3 and had their backs against the wall. The team’s only hope was dependent on the shoulders veteran MS Dhoni, who was yet to come to the field. In fact, it surprised many why Dhoni was held back for number seven position. Dhoni has all the experience under his belt and the right-hander would have been well suited to bat in the middle order.
In fact, many believed that if Dhoni was not to bat at number four, he could have been sent at number five. But Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri had different plans up their sleeves.
Dhoni should have batted up the order.
Dhoni has the skills to hold one end and he would not have given his wicket easily. He would have held one end and furthermore, he could have given invaluable suggestions to his partner. In fact, the same was palpable when the former skipper added 116 runs with Ravindra Jadeja. He was always there for Jadeja, giving him classes after every ball, after every short.
Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly was left puzzled as Dhoni batted lower down the order despite the troublesome position of the Indian team.
“It’s very hard to understand. No MS Dhoni yet,” Ganguly was heard saying on air. “There you see MS Dhoni. You have got 10-and-half thousand runs. Average 50 and he is not in yet when India is under pressure. That’s not acceptable. I know he is a good finisher but this is a long way from finished. India needed all his experience, all his ability. And at any stage, you needed his batting experience, it’s this one. When you’re 3 down or 4 down for 25, you needed your most experienced batsman.”
On the other hand, as India was 5-3, the team management would have thought of preserving their most experienced batsman for later stages.
It was a big surprise.
Kohli said, “He has been given that role after the first few games of being in a situation where he can bat and control the situation from one end or in a scenario where there are six-seven overs left and he can go and strike,” in the post-match press conference.
Dhoni gave his all he had. The right-hander had struck a first ball six of the penultimate over as he was keeping India afloat. However, Martin Guptill who has had a mundane tournament with the bat was able to hit the bullseye when it mattered the most for New Zealand. Thus, Dhoni was dismissed for 50 runs which could be his last innings for the Indian team.