MS Dhoni's game-changing wisdom that unleashed Shai Hope's dramatic six-hitting spree in West Indies' win over England
In a Dhoni-esque fashion, Shai Hope displayed his six-hitting prowess, securing a record win against England and propelling West Indies to an early 1-0 lead.
Shai Hope channeled his inner MS Dhoni by snatching a dramatic win from England to help West Indies take a 1-0 lead in the series. Chasing 326, Hope smashed the 16th ODI century of his career to successfully gun down the target by four wickets and with 7 balls to spare. With 19 needed off 12 balls, the Windies were favourites, with a set Hope taking strike, but with Sam Curran bowling the penultimate over, the belief was that he might be able to push the game into the decider, perhaps hoping to emulate Arshdeep defending 10 against Australia in a last-over thriller in Bengaluru.
However, what followed was complete pandemonium as Hope blasted three sixes in four balls to put the game beyond doubt. Moments later, as West Indies soaked in the glory of pulling off their highest successful ODI chase against England, Hope paid a million-dollar compliment to the one and only MS Dhoni, revealing the great man's words of wisdom that helped him ace this chase.
"A very, very famous person, MS Dhoni - we had a chat a while ago, and he was saying, 'You always have a lot more time than you think'. That's one thing that has stuck with me throughout the years I've been playing ODI cricket," Hope said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
Dhoni made a career out of finishing matches for India from tricky positions, and while the equation wasn't exactly complex for Hope and West Indies, England were well in the game after reducing WI to 213/5. Like Dhoni, Hope, who had already creamed three sixes earlier in his innings, took the game deep and when the opportunity came, fired West Indies home. He was aided by a half-century from opener Alick Athanaze, but it was Hope's match-turning partnership of Romario Shepherd that dug the WI out of a hole.
Hope and Shepherd (49 off just 28 balls including four fours and three sixes) put on 89 runs and even though Gus Atkinson broke the stand, the West Indies captain, the 11th from the Caribbean to complete 5000 ODI runs, took advantage of the conditions to secure one of the most memorable victories for the Windies.
"The dimensions of the field and then the wind factor there, I thought the best thing to do was to target that particular over. We knew it was a challenge to score from the other end, especially going against the breeze… regardless of what happened, I was going to try and take down that second-to-last over to give us the best chance of winning the game," Hope, adjudged Player of the Match, added while speaking to CWI's in-house channels.
"After the second [six of the 49th over], I knew we pretty much had the game in the balance. If we had that over to finish the game, I always try to finish the game with one over to spare if I can. I don't want to leave it to anyone else, so the aim was to finish off at the back end."
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