World Cup 2019: Ravi Shastri reveals why MS Dhoni was sent at No. 7 against New Zealand

by Ajit Singh Khanna | Posted on Saturday, July 13th, 2019 | 0

Head coach Ravi Shastri has opened up on why Mahendra Singh Dhoni batted as low as No. 7 during India’s semi-final defeat to New Zealand at the ongoing World Cup.

Chasing 240 runs on a swing-friendly Manchester wicket, India got off to a worst possible start, losing their top three – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli (all scoring just 1) – as they were left reeling at 5-3.

Subsequently, it wasn’t Dhoni coming in next at No. 5, which is generally the case, but a batsman playing just his second match of the tournament.

To make things worse, Karthik (6) couldn’t hand on for long as India were struggling big time at 24-4. No, Dhoni still didn’t make his way to the middle.

Instead, it was Hardik Pandya, better known for his fishing skills than building innings, who walked out of pavilion.

It was only after No. 4 batsman Rishabh Pant’s dismissal in the 23rd over that Dhoni came on.

And guess what? Dhoni (50) along with Ravindra Jadeja (77) almost pulled off an improbably chase (given the fact India were struggling at 92-6). It wasn’t to be though as they were bundled out 18 runs short of the target.

The decision to let Dhoni bat so low down the order garnered severe criticism from the cricketing world. But Shastri defended the decision, saying the ploy was to not let Dhoni face the new ball.

“It was a team decision. Everyone was in with it – and it was a simple decision – too. Last thing you wanted was Dhoni coming out to bat early and getting out — that would have killed the chase,” Shastri was quoted by the Indian Express.

“We needed his experience later. He is the greatest finisher of all times – and it would have been criminal to not make use of him in that way. The whole team was clear on it.”

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