Virender Sehwag has stated that had MS Dhoni come to the crease earlier in the semi-final, the look of the match could have changed entirely. He further stated that Hardik Pandya should have been demoted in the batting order to allow him to come in when the required run rate was steep.
More than a month since the conclusion of the latest edition of the World Cup, regret of having lost out after coming so close to the trophy still harbours in Indian hearts. The Men in Blue reached the semi finals as the group toppers only to end up succumbing to New Zealand in the penultimate round of the cricketing extravaganza.
After the Black Caps had put up 239 on the board in a rain marred match, India had a disastrous start to their innings on the reserve day of play. The top order collapsed to leave India reeling at 24/4. However, even with the dire need of a stabilizing innings, a relatively inexperienced Hardik Pandya was sent out to the middle instead of former skipper Dhoni. He and his batting partner Rishabh Pant ended up throwing away their wickets in an attempt to play unnecessary shots and when the former skipper finally came in at 71/5, the battle seemed to have already been lost.
“If MS Dhoni had come up to bat against New Zealand, situation could have been different. Dhoni should have batted when India needed to build the innings,” Virender Sehwag was quoted saying by Hindustan Times.
The 38-year-old made his way to a brilliant fifty while putting up a 116 run stand with Ravindra Jadeja for the seventh wicket, but the target seemed to be too big in the end. India could not keep up with the rising run rate and in the end fell 18 runs short of the total.
“Hardik could have batted down the order when 9+ runs were needed. Hardik and Pant could have chased down the high required rate if they came down the order,” Sehwag concluded.
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