Had it not been for one calculated risk in the last over of the match by skipper MS Dhoni, India could have been left to rue a so-near-yet-so-far result after the third consecutive last-over finish of the CB Series on Sunday.
However, Dhoni's gigantic six over long-on — which would have fetched him half a dozen runs at any venue in the world — helped India register a somewhat scratchy four-wicket victory against hosts Australia at the Adelaide Oval.But as opener Gautam Gambhir, named the Man-of-the-Match for his 92 that helped India successfully chase down 270 with two balls to spare, lamented after the match, Dhoni shouldn’t have left it until so late to finish it off.
Dhoni failed to time the ball all through his innings, until the last over. As a result, the required run rate, around run-a-ball when he came in to bat after Gambhir was unfortunately adjudged leg before, kept rising despite Suresh Raina keeping the scoreboard moving at the other end.
As a result, Ravindra Jadeja, who replaced Raina with 30 runs required off 23 balls, had to go for his shots from the word go. And when Jadeja holed out left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty, who bowled an outstanding spell in the death overs, India were left requiring 13 runs off eight balls.
Dhoni, like he had done for the most of his innings, couldn’t even take a single off the next two balls, allowing Doherty to end his last spell with creditable figures of 5-0-29-2.Late Drama
With 13 required off six balls, new man R Ashwin went for an inexplicable scoop against Clint McKay and missed completely. The off-spinner then managed to sneak a single off the next ball. With 12 needed off four balls, Dhoni had to take the biggest risk of the match, and he went for the longest boundary on the Oval and cleared it easily.
With seven required off three balls, there was more drama in store. McKay ended up bowling a high full-toss above Dhoni’s waist level. The batsman pulled, and though he was caught at deep mid-wicket, it was a no-ball and fetched three runs as Dhoni and Ashwin ran a brace.
With the equation down to three off three, the skipper guided the next ball to fine-leg and ran a triple to return to the dressing room with a stump in hand.
However, a victory would have been difficult had the pace troika of Zaheer Khan, birthday boy R Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav, who finally made an appearance in the tri-series, not pulled Australia back in the last 10 overs.
At 212 for four off 40 overs, the hosts looked set for 300. However, some impressive bowling fielding, restricted them to 269.