Going gets tough for ‘old wine’ MS Dhoni, India fall short vs West Indies
MS Dhoni scored the slowest fifty of his ODI career as India fell short by 11 runs in the fourth ODI against West Indies to help Jason Holder’s side stay alive in the five-match seriesindia vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jul 03, 2017 18:02 IST
Former India skipper MS Dhoni failed to make an impact and finish the innings on Sunday as India lost the fourth ODI by 11 runs to let West Indies back into the series.
India lead the series 2-1 with one match to go, which will be played in Jamaica. Dhoni, once considered among the best finishers in the game, scored his slowest fifty for India (off 108 balls) as he struggled to get going. In an innings of 54 that spanned 114 balls, he hit just one four.
The only time he tried to hit the ball out of the park, he was caught in the deep, handing the initiative and match to West Indies. The home fans, who had slowly grown in numbers as they heard about the fightback, went delirious at the fall of Dhoni’s wicket.
India had restricted the hosts to 189/9, but were all out for 178 in 49.4 overs, losing by 11 runs.
India seemed headed for a win with Ajinkya Rahane and Dhoni going well but after Rahane fell, India lost a flurry of wickets and that seemingly put pressure on Dhoni.
Batting coach Sanjay Bangar said the wicket was very slow. “The wicket kept getting slower and slower making batting difficult. These have been the nature of the wickets. We played on the track we had played two days ago,” Bangar said.
With 16 needed off 12 balls, it was India’s game, especially with Dhoni there. However, he couldn’t get a full slower ball away and only managed to eke out a single off the next ball. With Kuldeep Yadav wasting a couple of deliveries, Dhoni tried to go all out but holed out.
A few years back, he would not have let someone like Kuldeep spoil the game and would have made up for those wasted deliveries with hard hits.
But not now. Last year, in a T20I against West Indies at Lauderhill, USA, he failed to finish the game after bringing India to the cusp of victory with KL Rahul.
Letdown by batsmen
Bangar said batting let the team down and that they have been playing on difficult wickets, which are damp and tend to get slower and slower.
Asked if Dhoni struggling to clear the fence is a worry, he said, “You need to assess the conditions, at times you need to play the situations well and when you are batting higher up the order, which MS is doing, and with the kind of depth we have in the batting order at 6, 7 and 8. (But) when the 6, 7 and 8 don’t come off, you can’t really play with the freedom with which you should. It all boils down to how the batsmen at the other end are batting and how many wickets we have in hand.”
India skipper Virat Kohli lamented the poor batting. “Our shot selection wasn’t up to the mark. West Indies created dot balls that induced mistakes. The wicket was a bit two-paced.”