Blessed with good cricketing sense: Dhoni
The final of the Celkon Mobile Cup was not the first time that MS Dhoni proved the adage ‘It’s not over till it’s over’ true. When No.11 batsman Ishant Sharma joined him in the middle, India still needed 20 runs off 20 balls, which proved to be a very daunting task given the lone wicket in hand. However, save for some heart-stopping moments and desperate dives, India’s final pair managed to play out Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews in the 48th and the 49th overs respectively to take the match down to the last six balls.
In the 50th over, armed with a fresh bat, Dhoni switched gears against Shaminda Eranaga, who was playing in only his 11th match. The India skipper unleashed himself on the inexperienced pacer, after failing to connect the first ball of the over. He sent the next delivery sailing over the bowler’s head to the rooftop at the opposite end and smashed the third delivery to the boundary. He then followed it up with a six over extra cover to take India home by one wicket and lift the Celkon Mobile Cup.
Speaking about his approach during the tight run-chase, Man of the Match, Dhoni said, “'I am blessed with a bit of good cricketing sense. I am also blessed with 15 good players on the field and it shows in our results. I can look for 15 runs in the last over and I backed myself as the bowler was not so experienced. I did not take a chance against Malinga or Mathews, who are experienced. But luckily it worked out for us. Also, it was a two kilogram bat and that helps in power hitting.”
Before he came to the crease, it was Rohit Sharma who had held the innings together in adverse conditions. Speaking about the thrilling finish, the second highest run-getter of the tournament – with 217 runs – said, “'I am happy with the way we performed and I am glad that we won the series. The wicket was not easy to bat on and so I had to delay my shots. We knew that Dhoni has won us matches in the last over and we were positive. This was no surprise.”
Another player who has been instrumental in India’s good fortunes in recent times is Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The young pacer once again played a crucial role for the Men in Blue by claiming the Sri Lankan openers early after Dhoni opted to bowl first. Kumar proved his ability once again by claiming 10 wickets from four games in the series. Discussing his game plan, Kumar who had set the tone for the match, said, “I knew that the wickets assisted swing and so I focused on bowling the right line. I was determined to put in my best effort and I put in a lot of effort in the nets.”
The youngster, who received the Man of the Series award for his performance, credited the team and the skipper for his success. “I was not thinking about this award before the series. The seniors made me feel comfortable in the team. Dhoni has a calming influence, both in the dressing room and on the field,” Kumar said.