SK Turning Point: MS Dhoni's dismissal during the 2nd ODI against New Zealand
After New Zealand could only manage 242 from their full quota of 50 overs, the chase appeared to be pretty straightforward for India with dew also playing its part during the 2nd ODI at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. However, the hosts saw their top-order implode rather spectacularly and the Kiwis produced a fighting display to emerge victorious by just six runs to turn their fortunes around in the 5-match series.
There was one particular moment though which had a much more impact on the captivating contest that went right down to the wire. Skipper MS Dhoni looked set to influence the match with a typical watchful start which could have blossomed into a vital knock as the end overs loomed. But, the 35-year old was outdone by a slower delivery from New Zealand seamer Tim Southee.
The ball that was clocked at 116.5 KPH stopped in the pitch for a brief moment and Dhoni forced himself early into the shot. The seasoned campaigner could just prod a mistimed jab even as Southee changed direction during his follow through to dive to his right to snap it up inches from the turf. The clever change of pace sent back a well-set batsman who had a reputation of seeing through chases.
Earlier, Dhoni had walked into a crisis situation with India reeling at 72/3 and it soon turned into worse as Manish Pandey ran himself out by going after a non-existent double. Alongside Kedar Jadhav who looked to revert the pressure back on the Kiwis, the wicket-keeper batsman resurrected the innings with a 63-run stand. When his partner edged one to Luke Ronchi, the veteran attempted to join hands with Axar Patel to get the chase back on track.
Though he struggled to force the pace against the spin duo of Mitchell Santner and Anton Devcich, Dhoni ran hard between the wickets even as the dew-filled conditions made it difficult to time the ball. With India still needing 71 runs from 64 deliveries, he finally perished through a moment of brilliance from Southee.
Click here to catch Southee’s sensational return catch to dismiss Dhoni
Despite a valiant effort by Hardik Pandya and Umesh Yadav who frustrated the New Zealand bowlers by bringing the hosts to the doorstep of victory, Kane Williamson’s side kept their nerves to triumph by a narrow margin to restore parity in the ODI series.
At the post-match presentation ceremony, Dhoni admitted, “I feel this was one game where we lost wickets against the run of play. It was not that the deliveries were good, we just kept losing wickets. Until the end, we had the run rate under control. When you're chasing, you need to play 50 overs and at one stage, it didn't look like we would. I felt the NZ bowlers bowled really well but we just kept losing wickets. I don’t think there was a lot of dew, it was not coming on to the bat.”
But, his counterpart Williamson disagreed with the assessment on dew by claiming, “The wicket wasn't easy to increase the scoring rate. At the halfway stage, we were a few off where we wanted to be. A lot of credit to the way we bowled, to create pressure on that surface was key.
“We were below par but we did have enough runs to create a squeeze. Dealing with dew is never easy as the dew didn't help the spinners but they did a great job. Seam bowling was easier to face on that surface.”
The third ODI between the two teams will take place on Sunday at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.