India vs New Zealand 2016: MS Dhoni does not want Hardik Pandya to be blamed for miscued shot
Having collapsed to 183/8 with a further 60 runs required, India’s chances appeared to be over. However, a doughty partnership between Hardik Pandya and Umesh Yadav raised hopes of an unlikely victory before the former attempted a risky shot in order to dictate terms on the opposition. New Zealand duly grabbed the opportunity to snatch a 6-run triumph in front of a healthy crowd in Delhi to level the series 1-1 with three more games to play.
But India’s captain MS Dhoni, who himself has extensive experience in tense chases, refused to blame Pandya for his error in judgment whilst hoping that the 23-year old all-rounder learns from the episode.
At the post-match press conference, Dhoni felt, “You always have to target who are the bowlers you want to hit and in these kinds of situation even the last ball counts. So, it is always a good exposure for a player when he is under the pump and it always teaches you a lot. Maybe if that shot would have gone over point, it could have been a boundary and everything would have been different. He is still learning and it will be harsh on him (to criticize the stroke).”
With 11 runs required from eight balls, Pandya looked to flat-bat a short delivery from Trent Boult in an attempt to clear the in-field and find the boundary. But, he could only mistime the shot which was lapped up by Mitchell Santner at deep extra cover. However, the fact that they were even in such a position despite chasing a middling total did not escape the skipper’s attention.
Dhoni noted, “If you see there were quite a few partnerships, but we kept losing wickets after every partnership. When you are chasing a score like this, it is important that you need to keep a few wickets because the runs were coming. Even if you need six or seven runs an over, in the end, it can easily be achieved. But our problem was that we kept losing the wickets, in fact in the 41st over we lost two wickets (Axar Patel and Amit Mishra).”
The seasoned campaigner added, “It's not about one batsman, I felt we lost wickets throughout. Any batsman could have said that had I contributed 10 percent more, we would have won the game. So, it was the responsibility of the whole batting unit. Also if you lose one or two wickets, that slows you down to an extent. Then if you have that partnership and still lose a wicket again, again you have to start from scratch. If any of our batsman had batted 15 minutes more, we would have won the game.”
He defended his decision to chase by claiming that the dew did not have as much of an effect as was previously anticipated and praised the bowlers for restricting the visitors to 242/9. With the series heating up nicely, the veteran would hope for a better performance from his batsmen during the third ODI which will take place at Mohali on Sunday.