Afghan batsman Mohammad Shahzad during his knock of 124 against India on Tuesday.(AFP)
Afghan batsman Mohammad Shahzad during his knock of 124 against India on Tuesday.(AFP)

Asia Cup 2018: MS Dhoni compares tied game against Afghanistan to a round of golf

Stand-in captain MS Dhoni praised Afghanistan for putting up a clinical show against India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 26, 2018 08:28 AM IST

His 200th match as captain of the Indian ODI team might not have gone as per plan, but Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known to be a sport. Rather than looking at the game as a missed opportunity for India to maintain a clean slate — the match was tied — Dhoni took the opportunity to praise Afghanistan for putting up a clinical show against India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

“Their (Afghanistan’s) cricket has improved a lot. The way they have continued from the start of the Asia cup, it is commendable and we have enjoyed their cricket. It is one country that has risen through the ranks very well. They played really well. They batted extremely well too. The wicket slowed down later, but they bowled extremely well throughout the game and their fielding was tight too,” he explained during the presentation ceremony.

While it was easy to think that India went wrong in the chase after starting well at the top — KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu put on 110 runs for the opening wicket, Dhoni pointed on how it was like a game of golf.

“I wouldn’t say we went wrong in the chase. To start off, it was like a handicap in golf. We didn’t go with a full-strength side. Not enough spinners on this wicket. The first over that a fast bowler bowls, they need to extract swing. We didn’t hit the back of a length area, and we gave away too much initially with the ball. We got off to a very good start with the bat, but the wicket slowed down over the course of the game, so someone should have continued with the bat. Shot-selection is something that we need to work on,” he said.

The humorous side of MSD was also evident as he said he didn’t wish to be fined for speaking about certain things — incorrect decisions.

“There were a couple of run-outs, and a few things we can’t talk about (the incorrect LBW decisions) because I don’t want to get fined for it. It’s good that it’s a tie, but they played really well,” he smiled.

Dhoni also made it a point to reiterate how it was a brilliant show from the minnows of world cricket. “The Afghanistan guys played really well. 250 was a very good score on this wicket. We could have been on the losing side because of quite a few things that didn’t go for us, so I’m happy with the result,” he said.

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