New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni was lauded for his coolness and his captaincy after India clung on for a one-run win over Bangladesh in the World Twenty20.
The criticism would have flowed had India lost in the last over, but instead the likes of former test captain Sunil Gavaskar were praising Dhoni for his composure in controlling the game.
“M.S. Dhoni knew what to do,” Gavaskar told NDTV on Thursday. “His plans showed that he was at the top of his game. Also, the commitment of the players was there to see as they tried to get India out of a sticky situation.”
Dhoni picked allrounder Hardik Pandya to bowl the last over, with Bangladesh needing 11 runs on Wednesday to produce a huge upset win at the tournament which India is hosting.
But after getting within two runs of victory, Bangladesh lost three wickets on the last three deliveries and India took the points, maintaining its chances of reaching the semifinals.
Mahmudullah (18) and Mushfiqur Rahman (11) had struck some useful blows but both holed out in the deep. Tail-ender Mustafizur Rahman was run out on the last delivery as Dhoni collected the ball and ran in to dismantle the stumps and restrict Bangladesh – chasing 147 for the win – to 145-9.
“Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah went for the glamor shots. They should not have done it,” Gavaskar said.
Former Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar complimented Dhoni on his tactical judgment. Akhtar tweeted: Close game but India came out victorious ..but very brave move by dhoni with bowling changes..
Retired Indian legspinner Anil Kumble and former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja also took to social media to commend the veteran skipper.
Dhoni, who led India to victory in the first edition of the World Twenty20 in 2007 and is remembered for tossing the ball to inexperienced seam bowler Joginder Sharma for the last over in the final against Pakistan, attributed his success to being able to manage a chaotic finish.
“I think what’s important is to listen to everyone,” Dhoni said. “In situations like this it’s literally chaos. You’re trying to manage chaos.”
India, considered the favorite coming into the tournament with 10 wins in its 11 previous T20 internationals, opened with a shock 47-run loss to New Zealand before bouncing back to beat Pakistan and Bangladesh.
India’s last league game in Group 2 is against Australia at Mohali on Sunday.