Former Australian World Cup winning captain Steve Waugh has come to the defence of MS Dhoni and backed his approach of taking things to the deep while chasing in ODIs, saying without him, the team would often not even be in with a chance of winning the game.
Dhoni adopted his usual approach of taking things slow initially and then playing his shots later on during India’s attempted chase of 240 against New Zealand in the semi-final, but was run-out just as he was starting to look dangerous.
In the penultimate over, with 31 runs required off 12 balls, Dhoni hit a six off Lockie Ferguson’s first ball, reducing the equation to 25 required off 11 balls. He attempted to take a double off the third ball after the second went for a dot. However, as he reached fifty after completing the first run, Dhoni fell inches short of the crease while attempting the second run, run-out by Martin Guptill’s accurate throw after he ran in from the deep.
Speaking to ANI, calling Dhoni’s criticism ‘unfair’, Waugh said, “I think it is pretty unfair. MS Dhoni has won so many games for India and he has played in the same way over a long period of time. He can get you in a situation that can give you a chance to win the game and without him, there would not be a chance to win a game.
“Of course, you are not going to win every time. The other day (during the semi-final), he was a couple of inches away from being home for the second run. He may have still won that game. I know how hard it is to win a one-day game while chasing, and he has done better than anyone in the history of the game.”
New Zealand bowlers Matt Henry and Trent Boult were responsible for India slumping to 5/3 inside the first four overs, and that completely derailed the run-chase for the first few overs. And while Waugh said that he had expected India to chase down the total, he also lauded New Zealand’s bowling.
“I expected India to chase down 240 but there was great bowling from Henry and Boult up front, three early wickets. Due to pressure in big game situations, it is hard to chase runs. India will no doubt be disappointed. They would have expected to make 240.”
Waugh also backed England to win the World Cup after their eight-wicket win over Australia in the semi, saying he believed it was their “time” to lift the trophy.
“England played an outstanding game of one day cricket. Australia was a little bit off and lost early wickets just like India. They were outplayed by a really strong England side who have no real weakness in their line up.
“I cannot really get past England (to lift the trophy) but I would not be surprised if New Zealand played really well. But England, on their current form and momentum, just feels like it is their time.”
England will take on New Zealand in the final at Lord’s on Sunday, July 14th.