MS Dhoni walked a single to third man to reach 10,000 ODI runs, but there was barely a clap heard at Lord’s. Even the Indian dressing room was glum.
Not long after that, Dhoni was booed as India’s run rate came to a virtual standstill in the final 10 overs, after the chase of 323 fell apart. Boos and slow-hand claps rang across the ground because Dhoni was reluctant to play aggressively.
Dhoni had walked in at the fall of Virat Kohli’s wicket with India needing 183 in 23 overs, the asking rate a shade below eight. By the time he was dismissed for 37 off 59 balls, 20 overs later, India had added just 75 runs, and the required rate had nearly doubled. India didn’t have a single over that went for over 10 in the last 15; overs 40 to 50 produced just 42. It was also the first time since the 2011 World Cup semi-final that India failed hit a six in an ODI.
When Dhoni was finally caught slogging Liam Plunkett to deep midwicket in the 47th over, the crowd clapped his dismissal. At the presentation, Kohli reasoned that Dhoni’s plan was to ensure India did not suffer a big defeat.
“The idea was to take the innings deep,” Kohli said. “We don’t want to lose by 160 or 170 runs. You want to take it as deep as you can and he has got the experience, but some days it just doesn’t come off. People just jump to conclusions, which we as a team don’t. We totally believe in him and in the abilities in all the other players.”
Kohli said the team was not affected by the criticism of Dhoni. “This thing comes up again and again when he is not able to play the way he does,” Kohli said. “It is very unfortunate that people just jump to conclusions very quickly. When he does well people call him best finisher ever. And when things don’t go well people pounce on him. We all have bad days in cricket. Today was I think a bad day for everyone, not just for him alone. And just as a batting unit we could not click.”
Yuzvendra Chahal, India’s No. 11, also said he understood Dhoni’s position. With a long tail -Kuldeep Yadav, Siddarth Kaul and himself – Chahal said Dhoni was helpless. “He had not also batted much through the series. And if he had gone for the shots and got out then probably India might not have played all the 50 overs.”