I don’t think Dhoni’s role as a finisher has changed, believes Steve Smith

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I don’t think Dhoni’s role as a finisher has changed, believes Steve Smith

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SportsCafe Desk

09/20/2017

While praising the 188-run partnership between MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya in the first ODI, Steve Smith has claimed that Dhoni's role of finishing games for India is still the same. Smith also voiced his confidence in his team's capability of competing against India in the remaining matches.

India drew first blood in the ongoing series with a 26-run win at Chepauk in Chennai. The victory was even more commendable for the hosts as they recovered from a top-order collapse that saw them being restricted to 87/5. However, Dhoni, along with Pandya, built a match-winning partnership of 118 runs for the sixth wicket which helped the Men in Blue reach a respectable score of 281/7. 

“They (Dhoni and Pandya) batted really well. They formed a good partnership which we couldn’t break,” PTI reported Smith saying ahead of the second ODI.

“We certainly tried. I brought Coulter-Nile back to try and get a wicket and saved (James) Faulkner for the back end. But we just weren’t able to do so.

“I don’t think his (Dhoni) role has changed. He has always batted at No. 6 or 7 and he has been that sort of finisher. He has got a phenomenal record and he has done that job (in the past). I think his role is pretty much the same as it has always been.”

However, India got a much needed break when the rain gods decided to interfere just after the Indian innings. After a two hour delay, the game was cut short to just 21 overs with Australia needing 164 in 21 overs. Australia could only manage 137 runs in their allotted overs and handed India the lead in the five match series. 

“Obviously, the other day it was more like a T20 game for us, especially while we were batting. I think if we had 50 overs, the guys would have a chance to get into their groove and play with the right tempo,” Smith added. 

Despite the loss, the Australian skipper wants to concentrate on the remainder of the series and believed that his team would challenge India in the upcoming matches. 

“(But) we still believe in these guys. We think they’ve got a lot of talent and we’ve got a team here that can hopefully challenge India in the next couple of games,” he added.

Earlier, former Australia skipper Michael Clarke had raised questions over Smith’s captaincy and claimed that he facing a challenging time in leading the team. But, Smith denied the same outright stating that the results would change as the tour progressed. 

“I don’t think so. I’m not in a bad place with my captaincy. Obviously, results haven’t been the way we would have liked and that’s something we are trying to rectify,” the 28-years-old said.

“Guys are working hard and it’s all about getting out in the middle and getting the job done. It was a disappointing start to the series but we’ve got a game tomorrow to turn things around.”

After rain threatened to play spoilsport in Chennai, there is a good chance that it might have a telling impact tomorrow as well. Both teams have been unable to train at the Eden Garden for the last two days with teams being forced practice indoors. 

“Certainly it’s something to think about. To begin we’ll turn up tomorrow, expecting to be playing full 50 overs and if things change from there, we’ve got to adapt and do what needs to be done,” the Australia captain said.

“I don’t think it’ll have a big impact. Guys have worked hard since we’ve been here in India.

“We’ve obviously had a game not that long ago so the guys are in a fine space. It’s just been about topping up a few things we can in indoors and getting a few things right there. No excuses from us. We’re ready to go tomorrow,” Smith signed off.

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