New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned back the clock in scintillating style in the first T20I against Sri Lanka to help India take 1-0 lead in the three match series on Wednesday. The hosts will look for more of the same from their swashbuckling talisman as they lock horns against the Islanders in the second T20I in Indore on Friday.
Dhoni (39 off just 22 balls) was promoted up the order and sent to bat at No.4 by the team management and the decision worked wonders as he put on a brilliant partnership with Manish Pandey that helped the hosts put on a daunting total of 180/3 in the designated 20 overs.
But it wasn’t an one-off innings from Dhoni as number suggests that he loves to bat at this position in the shortest format of the game.
Dhoni is the top scorer at No. 4 amongst the current Indian players in the T20I squad, having scored 244 runs while batting at this position. Also, his average of 61 is the best amongst Indians who have batted at this position (minimum 3 innings played).
Not just that, Dhoni has his highest T20I score, best average and best strike rate while batting at No. 4, as well.
Even stand-in-skipper Rohit Sharma lavished praise on Dhoni after his knock in Cuttack and he even went onto say that MSD is the ‘ideal’ man for the No.4 slot.
“MSD (Dhoni), he’s just class. No. 4 really paid off. He’s played so many games for us, won so many games for us and moving forward, we feel making him bat at No. 4 is ideal," Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony on Wednesday.
“For a long period of time, MS has been finishing games off, but we want him to bat freely now, without that pressure," he added.
India: Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat.
Sri Lanka: Thisara Perera(C), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Janith Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella, Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Dananjaya De Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando and Dusmantha Chameera.