The shot was on because fine-leg was up but MS Dhoni’s attempted scoop, off debutant medium-pacer T Pradeep, brushed his pads before disturbing the furniture.
MS Dhoni’s 50-ball 43 with three fours and two sixes, wasn’t enough and Jharkhand, set 267 to win, lost by five runs to Karnataka in the Vijay Hazare Trophy opener at Eden Gardens on Saturday.
For Karnataka, skipper Manish Pandey made 77 (95b; 6x4; 2x6), making the most of being dropped on zero and 15, and shared a 116-run stand with R Samarth who made 71.
Dhoni failed to grab a difficult chance, off medium-pacer Anand Singh, and it gave Pawan Deshpande a boundary in the fifth ball of the 33rd over. Two overs later, he gave four byes though that had more to do with left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem’s straying down leg.
From a disastrous 3/2, courtesy lanky pacer Prasidh Krishna who got the new ball to swing and had Anand Singh bowled and Virat Singh yorked, Jharkhand recovered to 61/3 through Ishant Jaggi (25) and Kishan (36) before Jaggi was bowled by Stuart Binny.
With over 1000 people in, the number having swelled in the afternoon, Dhoni came in when Kishan fell to a diving catch at short midwicket by Pandey which reduced Jharkhand to 79/4 after 19.2 overs.
He survived a shout for leg-before off K Gowtham, the off-spinner finishing with figures of 10-1-58-4, and started scratchily. After facing 22 balls, Dhoni had made 8.
Hoiking Gowtham to mid-wicket for six made it 14 off 23 and from then on, Dhoni rotated the strike against medium-pacers and went after the spinners.
With Saurabh Tiwari, Dhoni added 81 runs but fell trying to force the pace in the 37th over. That Dhoni left the Eden with the media swarming around him and fans chanting his name was proof that it didn’t matter to most who won or lost on Saturday.
Brief scores: Karnataka 266 all out in 49.4 ovs (Samarth 71, Pandey 77; Rahul Shukla 4/45) beat Jharkhand 261 all out in 49.5 ovs (Tiwary 68; Dhoni 43; Gowtham 4/58).