New Zealand v India, 3rd ODI, Auckland January 25, 2014

Dhoni relieved series still alive


First things first. India would have wanted to go back to Hamilton with the series alive. And MS Dhoni was relieved that R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja's hitting had tied the Auckland ODI and ensured the contest wasn't dead just as yet. But the spinners' batting partnership came after more failures from the middle order, and after the bowlers had conceded a 300-plus total again. So India return to Hamilton with a chance to square the series, but with most of the old problems still intact.

Dhoni, though, stressed that getting out of Auckland without 0-3 was crucial.

"The big thing for us was to stay alive in this series," Dhoni said. "This game could have gone either way at that point. It seemed we needed hard work and application to win from there and Jadeja and Ashwin batted really well to take us to where we are and keep us alive. Overall quite happy.

"I think we would have loved to win the game here. But at the same time, most important thing is being alive in the series and that's what this tie does to us. We should have lost the game from 140-odd down for five-six. Once the kind of partnership we got we should have won from there. But it didn't go our way. In the end tie was a good one because good cricket was played and bad cricket was also played by both sides. That is the reason we are on even terms. We can't win the series but we can hold it to a draw.

"Yet again there were instances where we could have packed up the game in our favour. It's important to avail those. So far we have not done that in this series. Hopefully we can do that in the coming two matches."

One thing India haven't been able to do so far is build substantial partnerships in the middle overs. This, Dhoni said, was pulling the side down. In Auckland, India slipped from 64 for 0 to 79 for 4 in just over eight overs. "In the middle overs we haven't got the partnerships that are really needed," he said. "With the kind of changes in ODIs, if you have wickets you have an edge especially from 35th over onwards. We are losing quite a few wickets in the middle overs, which means you have to restart building the innings, which means you lose 25-30 runs.

"We have got power hitters in our batting. We haven't fired. We haven't availed the last ten overs generally how we do and yet we are getting very close to opposition targets. Hopefully in [the rest of] this series we will have wickets in hand and be able to use those overs and get those extra runs."

Dhoni also singled himself out, saying that he should have batted till the finish, which he had not been able to do in all three games despite making decent contributions. "My responsibility as a batsman is to stay till the end and so far in this series I have not been able to do that," he said. "Got out close to 40-43rd over. It puts pressure on batsmen after me. Will be good if I can stay till 48th-49th over."

Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma gave India a swift start, though, and Ashwin and Jadeja ensured an electric finish. Dhoni was pleased with these performances, and said it would only help the spinners grow as batsmen. "Overall I like the approach in this game," he said. "There is a certain brand of cricket we are known to play. That was missing in the last few games. So it was very important to express and the openers did that. Lower in the order, Ashwin and Jadeja also played the same brand of cricket. Still need to convert those starts into big innings, though."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Johann on January 28, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Dhoni is the best ODI batsman in the world, need to admit that even if his performance against us hurting badly.

  • Vivek on January 28, 2014, 2:19 GMT

    I think true fans of Indian Cricket will relive once MS Dhoni is dropped. he is the worst player as well as skipper on foreign soil. India Must consider Kohli for this position. he batted well in all conditions and in all formats. he is the guy who can inspire the other teammates to raise their performance level. also has experienced of captaining of under 19 as well as IPL. moreover he deserves the place in side on his merit. Strongly feel that Dhonis time is over, we are just not capable to win overseas under his captaincy. he could have easily won the last two ODIs for India if the matches were played in Indian subcontinent. somehow he managed to score useless fifties to avoid criticism.

  • Ashok on January 27, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    @Deepak Marriyappa: Thanks for your comment about Shami. I fully understand this is a young team who is also World #1 in ODI. This is where the leadership counts. Ashwin managed to get Anderson out cheaply for the first time in this ODI series. It was the biggest chance India ever had of winning by restricting the total to < 250. It was frustrating to see Shami just blew our greatest chance. If you cannot bowl accurate Yorker "Do Not attempt or experiment" especially in death overs. Shami should go with the most effective risk free strategy. Yorkers are too risky unless you are Malinga or Johnson. Anderson & Ronchi won first 2 ODI's for NZ with S/R in 200 range. Dhoni & full Indian team knows this. Ronchi gets 38 @ S/R >200 & even Southee gets 26 @ S/R 130. India lost a golden chance to Win. Chasing 250 is less pressure on all batsmen than 313. A World #1 ODI team cannot forget such basic rules!

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2014, 12:12 GMT

    @Nampally, somebody should ask Dhoni to watch out for your comments since he is missing the only tips he needs to win, duh!

    Shami is known for his ability to bowl yorkers at the death consistently. It just did not go as per his plan because of whatever reason. Its a young inexperienced side learning on how to control things when they have to. Imagine, India have been amongst the winning sides in spite of this kind of bowling. The day they get their bowling right, nobody can imagine what they can achieve. So when others criticize India for their bad bowling, are actually praying to the almighty that they stay that way. I really hope it changes and then we will see what this side can do. India have been getting close to their target which only means their opponent bowlers are also as bad as they are but they are never criticized, as Dhoni said after they won in Bangalore against Australia.

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Cricket is really a funny game where both the winning as well as losing performance c come from the same player in different games - Virat Kohli

  • Ashok on January 26, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    Shami is easily India's best wkt. taker in this squad. So banish the thought of his banning! Yes, he appeared to have a "brain cramp", bowling full tosses to Ronchi. I have seen Kumar doing the same before. Full Toss is the easiest ball to hit. If you are attempting Yorkers it has to be lower trajectory unlike Shami's trajectory. So it will be a faster lower trajectory ball right in the block hole. Indian bowling coach should be correcting this. If you cannot bowl an accurate Yorker do not experiment. Bowl a foot outside the off stump at good length with deep third man & deep extracover + off side field. I had mentioned before ODI 3 getting Anderson & Ronchi out early is critical for India. They got Anderson out but Ronch scored at nearly 200 S/R- thanks to full Tosses. Even Southee scored thanks to Kumar dropping his catch! If India got these 2 early + umpteen missed Runouts, they would have easily won the match. Make the TIE count to win the next 2 ODI's & retain World #1 spot!

  • venkataramana rao on January 26, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    MSD is working on a formula of power hitters. But given Rainas problems against short balls, he is overall bound to be a liability. Also it is absolutely necessary to have someone with a good temperament/ technical ability like Pujara in the team since inevitably we need good partnerships to set the game up. Pujara is one of the best to do it. Possibly we can open with Pujara and Dhawan/ Rohit and have Dinesh Karthik at 5 instead of Raina. With Dhoni at 6.... Play Ashwin at 7 followed by Jadeja. We need to give chances to all the seamers - Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Ishwar Pandey other than Bhuvi, Shami and see who plays better. having Aaron and Yadav bowling 140-146 kmph is likely to be very useful in some of the games. Binny and Mishra are both unlikely to get a game but again it is important to test the bench strength to look at different perumations.

  • Naveen on January 26, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    Really some down here want shami to be sacked after one off day and poor field set up by Dhoni? i guess they should be kiwi supporters. Dhoni simply doesn't know how to set field according to bowlers strength...i think he is like sachin in that aspect cant see how normal players play the game.

    Rohit Sharma Supporters get a life..whats the point in scoring century once the series is an opener rohit has not done anything outside india(and flat England ODI Tracks) ...only fear is he is going to get rope like ishant sharma for next few years...thats a bane for indian cricket.

    Dhoni needs to be innovate his field settings in overs 10-25...make batsmen think all the time rather than allowing batsmen to settle.

    Rahane and or jadeja should go up the order...sent rohit to 5 down...he might play well with tail... may be bring in binny instead of raina...Raina gets chance purely because of dhoni's commercial interest. Come on Dhoni you need to be selfless beyond this point.

  • Dummy4 on January 26, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    Very good comeback from Indian team and Dhoni should take it forward from here with positive energy.

  • Bingo on January 26, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    I agree with most people here that Shami should be sacked and sent with Ishant Sharma to play domestic cricket. Pandey should take his place. Right no the best bowling pace attack seems to be Kumar, Aaron and Pandey. Virat Kohli should be rested before he burns out as should be Dhoni. Rahane is not suitable for ODIs and needs a rest too. Raina needs to be rested(permanently) Pujara,/rayuduSaha, Binny should replace them. Rohit Sharma (who has captaincy experience should be stand-in Captain. This is the best Indian team going to the next two matches

  • No featured comments at the moment.