India vs New Zealand, semi-final World Cup 2019: Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman slam decision to send MS Dhoni at number 7
Former India cricketers Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman hit out at the team management’s decision to send Mahendra Singh Dhoni at number chase during India’s 18-run defeat at the hands of New Zealand in their ICC World Cup 2019 semi-final at Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday. Team India suffered a rare top-order collapse and crashed out of the competition despite fighting half-centuries from Ravindra Jadeja and Dhoni.
Following the defeat, Ganguly and Laxman told the official broadcaster that Dhoni should have been sent up the order as India left it too late to issue a counter attack.
“It was a tactical blunder to send Dhoni that low. They could have said the wicket of Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya and let Dhoni build a partnership with Rishabh Pant,” Laxman said during a chat show for the official broadcaster.
WATCH | India crash out of World Cup after shock loss to New Zealand in semi-final
“In a run-chase like this, you cannot send a batsman like Dhoni at number 7. He could’ve come to bat early and batted the entire innings. Then we would have had Jadeja, Pandya and Karthik, whose contribution in four and five overs have been immense in the past. He (Karthik) struggles only when he has to begin the game from scratch,” Ganguly echoed Laxman’s sentiments.
New Zealand survived Ravindra Jadeja’s late onslaught to stun India by 18 runs in a low-scoring thriller. Twice champions India were reeling at 24-4 in their chase for a modest victory target of 240 in what had appeared to be a lop-sided semi-final.
Jadeja (77) then partnered MS Dhoni in a century-plus stand but India were bowled out for 221 in the final over and New Zealand will play hosts England or defending champions Australia in Sunday’s final at Lord’s.
Opting to bat first in the rain-hit contest played over two days, New Zealand’s 239 for eight looked far from imposing against India’s formidable batting lineup. But Matt Henry (3-37) and Trent Boult (2-42) ripped the heart out of India’s top order and spinner Mitchell Santner struck two crucial blows in the middle overs.
((With agency inputs))