Superstar England all-rounder Ben Stokes has made startling comments regarding MS Dhoni’s intent during the India-England match at the 2019 World Cup, which the hosts won by 31 runs in Birmingham.
In his new book, ‘On Fire’, Ben Stokes opined that MS Dhoni’s batting innings was strange during the run chase, and that Dhoni was looking for singles and not boundaries even as the required run rate kept on rising.
“Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won,” Ben Stokes wrote in his book.
“There was little or no intent from him (Dhoni) or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke,” he added.
In the mammoth chase of 338, Dhoni scored 42 runs off 31 balls, but had laboured off at the start of his innings before hitting a few lusty blows only when the game was effectively in England’s pocket. Stokes asserted that while this is Dhoni’s modus operandi in run chases, he’d hardly seemed to look for the win but only to keep the net run rate in check.
“There is a theory in our camp that Dhoni’s way of playing has always been the same. Even if India can’t win the game, he takes it right to the end to try to make sure that India’s run-rate stays relatively healthy,” the all-rounder believed.
Stokes, who would be the Man of the Match in the final against New Zealand, also questioned the knocks of Rohit Sharma (102 off 109) and Virat Kohli (66 off 76), as both the right-handers had been cautious early on but failed to shift gears when India needed them to.
“The way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli played was mystifying. I know that we bowled brilliantly well during this period, but the way they went about their batting just seemed bizarre.
“They allowed their team to get so far behind the game. They showed no desire to put any pressure back onto our team, content instead to just drift along, a tactic that was clearly playing into our hands,” the champion all-rounder reflected further.
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