When it comes to making decisions on the field, there are very few cricketers better than MS Dhoni. The former India skipper, who is the only captain till date to have won all the ICC titles, rarely makes a decision which backfires. But Wednesday (October 24) was one of those days when his plan backfired during the second ODI against Windies which ended in a thrilling tie.
Batting first, India rode on yet another impressive ton from their talismanic skipper Virat Kohli to post an imposing total of 321 for 6. Captain Kohli walked out to bat when India lost in-form Rohit Sharma for just 4. The hosts found themselves in further trouble when Ashley Nurse dismissed Shikhar Dhawan to reduce them to 40 for 2.
However, Kohli once again bailed India out of trouble with an unbeaten knock of 157. He received good support from Ambati Rayudu who compiled 73.
In reply, Windies were off to a shaky start. The match looked well out of their clutches when Marlon Samuels became the third wicket to fall with just 78 runs on the board. However, once Shimron Hetmyer joined Shai Hope in the middle, the match turned on its head. Fresh off the century in the first game, Hetmyer took the Indian bowlers to the cleaners while Hope played the role of the second fiddle. The duo added 143 runs to revive the chase before Hetmyer departed after slamming 94 off just 64.
Hope, on the other hand, remained till the end and scored a century to secure his team a deserved tie.
The equation was down to 5 off the last ball and Hope hit Umesh Yadav for a four to level the scores.
After the game, Kuldeep Yadav revealed that it was MS Dhoni’s plan to bring third man in and push point out to deep backward point which ultimately backfired. The sweeper cover was already out and so was long-off. The field placement made it clear that Umesh was ready to bowl full and wide delivery.
Umesh did exactly that but Shaw managed to slice the ball behind point. Rayudu covered good ground to his right from third man but eventually failed to stop the ball.
“I’m too young to know,” Kuldeep said when asked if he knew why a new plan was implemented. “I’ve played only 30 games and Mahi bhai has played 300 games. He’s got more experience than me. It happens. He’s more experienced than us. At that time he thought it and he did it.”
Hope, on the other hand, said that he had an idea of what Umesh was going to deliver.
“I must say that I hoped he would bowl to the field,” Hope said. “I knew a wide yorker was coming. Got enough bat on it to be able to get it to the boundary. Was trying to get more bat on it so it would go for a six and we would win. It didn’t happen on the day. But one positive is we didn’t lose the game.”