Shikhar Dhawan has been very much impressed with Dinesh Karthik, his fellow half-centurion who guided the chase with an unbeaten 64 yesterday, and has stated that his hard work in domestic cricket is being rewarded now. He also stated that the game was a foregone conclusion after the first innings.
After Bhuvneshwar Kumar's clinical bowling performance, Dhawan and Karthik scored half-centuries as India levelled the three-match ODI series with a six-wicket victory over New Zealand at the MCA stadium in Pune. When Kohli fell against the run of play, the Tamil Nadu keeper got an opportunity to live up to his credentials and he latched on to that scoring his ninth international half-century. That seemed to have impressed Dhawan, who had some words of praise for the right-hander.
“He has worked hard and scored so many runs in domestic (cricket) that he is being rewarded and has made a place in the team again. He is one of the best middle-order players with the skills and shots he has, and he is proving himself. The way he played the knock today and in the last game when the team was in trouble, his 30-35 runs, were beneficial," Dhawan said at the post-match press conference.
“When he bats, his strike rotation is good, which reduces the pressure on the other batsman. Today, I wasn’t able to rotate the strike, but Dinesh was doing that, so I was not pressurised. It is a benefit to have a player like this who rotates the strike as soon as he comes.”
Dhawan top-scored for India, but he didn't shy away from accepting that the game was done and dusted even before the second innings. The opening batsman, who made an 84-ball 68, credited the bowlers for restricting New Zealand to just 230 for 9 from 50 overs.
“Absolutely,” he said when asked if the contest was over after the first innings. “230 is not too much in these times. The bowlers bowled really well and the fielders backed them up well. The bowlers had done half the job actually for us. The pressure of chasing 230 is naturally always less compared to chasing 300. It’s good that we are on a winning run.”
Dhawan was in particular impressed with the performance of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, whose 3 for 45 set up the comfortable six-wicket victory for the hosts. The pacer picked the key wickets of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro with the new ball to rattle New Zealand’s top order and later bowled Henry Nicholls when the batsman was set on 42. Dhawan stated that Bhuvneshwar has raised the bar to a ‘very high’ level and called him the best death bowler in the world currently.
“He has raised his bar and I feel he is at a very high level. His control over his bowling is very good, not just at the start but (also his) other variations. Even when he bowls the slower ball and
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