India v Bangladesh, World T20 2016, Group 2, Bangalore March 23, 2016

MS Dhoni details last-ball plan

ESPNcricinfo staff
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'Pandya executed the plan well' - Dhoni

India's captain MS Dhoni has lauded allrounder Hardik Pandya's "fantastic execution" of the last ball, which led to Mustafizur Rahman being run out by Dhoni in a mad-cap final over. Having been cracked for fours off his second and third balls in the defence of 10 runs, Pandya had Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah holing out off the next two balls. The equation ultimately boiled down to two needed off the last ball.

After a lengthy chat with Dhoni and Ashish Nehra, Pandya sent down a back-of-a-length ball outside off, which Shuvagata Hom could not reach. He attempted a bye, and Mustafizur responded, but Dhoni was too quick for him. He sprinted and broke the stumps as India edged Bangladesh.

At the post-match presentation, Dhoni said that the plan to stick to a back-of-a-length delivery, instead of the yorker, but not too wide outside off, which was what Pandya delivered.

"One thing was sure. We don't want to bowl a yorker," Dhoni said. "It had to be a back-of-a-length delivery, but how much back of the length is the question. You don't want to bowl a wide and by the time it travels to the keeper, the batsman has the opportunity to take one more run.

"So we were deciding what's a good field and what's the length to bowl. I think he executed really well. You can always plan a hundred things and unless the execution is good, it doesn't look good on the field. I feel the execution of the last delivery was fantastic."

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza admitted that his team lost it under pressure, in the last three balls. "I think the last three balls actually, we lost three wickets and needed only two runs," he said.

Pandya is not a particularly good exponent of the yorker, and when he attempted one off the penultimate ball, it ended up as a full toss. Mahmudullah slogged, but Jadeja came up with an incredible, running catch at deep midwicket. Pandya, however, can hit the deck hard, and muscle back-of-a-length or short-ish balls. Dhoni said that Pandya's strengths were discussed before the last ball.

"The decision was what line to bowl, what length to bowl," Dhoni said. "Also keeping in mind what the strength of the bowler is. That was the kind of stuff going. And also I knew once the 20th over starts, you can take as much time as possible. You can't get fined for it."

There were other senior members of the team who felt the short ball was the way to go in the final over. R Ashwin, who found grip and turn to return figures of 2 for 20, told Star Sports that the short ball was the "toughest" for a lower-order batsman.

Dhoni also credited fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who regrouped admirably, after fumbling a four off the first ball of the 147 chase, and then dropping Tamim Iqbal on 15. Bumrah nailed his yorkers in the penultimate over and conceded only six runs, which gave Pandya some cushion. It was just enough for India to pull off the coup.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vaidyaram on March 26, 2016, 12:34 GMT

    The moment he took the gloves off, I instinctively felt that the finish would be by run out or he would try out the run out possibility.

  • cjscanada on March 25, 2016, 19:22 GMT

    Dhoni played it smart. His intention was clear, out or just one, so you still have a chance in the super over. He wanted to avoid the deflection of the stumps earlier, when Pandya threw and cost India two runs. That woud be the end of the world cup.

  • bvnathan on March 25, 2016, 5:43 GMT

    Dhoni's dash to the wicket off the last ball was incredible, given the situation and impending result. The reason BD team lost the match was due to their over confidence to knock-off in GRAND STYLE the 2 runs required in 3 balls. BAD execution plan by BD team.

  • Tandasi on March 25, 2016, 4:26 GMT

    Mustafizur Rahman was standing at the non striker end when the last ball was delivered: 19 meters from the stumps, with the bat and hand extension giving him a 1.5 meter advantage: 17.5 meters from the stumps. When Pandya bowled, Mustafir had already left the crease and when the ball reached Dhoni's hands, he was already half way down the pitch: 10 metres. Now it was a battle between Dhoni at 13 meters from the stumps (who had to start running) and Mustafir who was 10 meters away from the stumps with the added advantage of 2 meters (extended bat): 8 meters (who was already running in full throttle). Mustafir had a 5 meter advantage. No other wicket keeper in the world would have tried to run all the way to the stumps considering the fresh fast legs of Mustafir. Some might have thrown the ball at the stumps. Dhoni tried to do the unthinkable. He tried to do the impossible. He took on. Dhoni covered the 13 meter distance in 2 seconds (A start that Ussain Bolt would be proud of). History.

  • Nothingness on March 25, 2016, 2:03 GMT

    Just like always, Dhoni is making up plans after the occurrence of an event. The truth of the matter is all the deliveries in the last over were awful and yet the Bangladesh players couldn't win the game when and gave it on a platter to India. Why are people praising Dhoni's captaincy? His Captaincy has been very poor in recent times. He was never a good Test Captain and he does not have great plans. Dhoni himself has created this great captain legacy to his name (not by coming up with or executing great plans on the field) by boasting about his own great plans is post match speeches. What he does is look back at what happened (if India wins) and say that his plan was to do exactly what happened and some people are naive enough to believe that. Most of his decisions in this match were very poor; most of all he should never have given the inexperienced Pandya the final over. It was not the bowling nor the captaincy that won the game for India, Bangla needed 2 singles, not 2 sixes!!!

  • Des_65 on March 24, 2016, 23:37 GMT

    India would have qualified even with a tie with Bangladesh (I think there is no super over for group matches) if they beat Australia. Then Aus/Pak would not qualify as they would be on 4 points max. Simple equation for India is to win the next match (in fact, next 3 matches to win T20 WC).

  • SamRoy on March 24, 2016, 17:05 GMT

    What India would want is Pakistan to beat Australia (or it to be a rain-induced abandonment) so that even if there is a rain induced abandonment in India vs Aus still India will qualify. If it doesn't rain then India has to beat Australia to qualify anyway (given India's bad net run-rate). And the best India can hope for is 2nd position in the table as NZ need to lose badly to Bangladesh and India to win massively against Australia (extremely unlikely both occurring together).

  • aakash818 on March 24, 2016, 16:02 GMT

    sheer brilliance of dhoni saved the blues.Still the best wicketkeeper batsman the country has ever produced.

  •   Abhinandan Bhattacharyya on March 24, 2016, 15:08 GMT

    the last ball in the indian inning turned out to be very crucial...instead of a single...dhoni ran two...

  • 2015-india-wins on March 24, 2016, 15:05 GMT

    Yeah Yeah all the great analysts have come up with their wonderful feedback on MSD captaincy- what are you guys- seriously do you know what entertainment is and what MSD did just for the country- he just gave the country a happy holi- why don't all of you chill and enjoy the moment!!!

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