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ICC World T20: Dhoni content with Rahane, annoyed with no-balls

The captain, though, got a bit soft on his bowlers towards the end, while maintaining that front-foot no-balls are not acceptable.

Jaspreet Sahni |Cricketnext |April 1, 2016, 12:16 PM IST
ICC World T20: Dhoni content with Rahane, annoyed with no-balls

Mumbai: When Ajinkya Rahane and Manish Pandey came to train at the Brabourne Stadium two days before the semi-final, nobody had a hunch that both will make it into the eleven against the West Indies. But it so happened that both played the semi-final in Mumbai on Thursday, where India unfortunately lost. The loss, which sent the hosts out of ICC World Twenty20, was in part due to a couple of unpardonable no-balls.

Yuvraj Singh's ankle tear ensured that either Rahane or Pandey would be drafted in. But MS Dhoni sprang a small surprise by asking Shikhar Dhawan to sit out even as he had been reluctant to change his eleven in the last few games despite the opener’s poor form.

But Rahane played his part well, coming out to open the innings and provide, along with Rohit Sharma, a start of 62 runs before adding solidarity to the platform with a 66-run partnership with Virat Kohli.

The highlight of his knock was running hard with Kohli. He hit just two boundaries in his 40 off 35 balls, which according to Dhoni is how Rahane plays.

"He is not somebody who will bat like a Rohit Sharma or a Virat Kohli but somebody orthodox who will give you that platform from which you can launch and score those extra 10 or 15 runs in the last few overs," the skipper said after India's seven-wicket defeat.

What helped him get into the team, according to Dhoni, was the fact that Dhawan wasn't able to convert the starts he was getting.

"If you see, Shikhar has been batting quite well but he has not been able to convert [the starts]. The thing with Rahane is he is somebody who is quite calm and composed and knows his role and responsibility in the team. And this is the kind of innings that is expected of him," the skipper said.

Dhoni then touched upon Rahane's prolific form as an opener in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"Ajinkya has very good stats, especially playing in these conditions. Throughout [most of the] the IPLs he has been the leading run-scorer when it comes to openers. That was all the reasoning behind it [including him in the eleven] and after facing a few deliveries he got into his groove and did what he does best."

A total of 192 would have surely proved enough had Hardik Pandya and R Ashwin not bowled those no-balls that gave Lendl Simmons two lives at crucial moments. For Dhoni, the no-balls changed the game.

"The only thing I am disappointed about is the two no-balls," the skipper said.

"On tracks like these, where it's so difficult [to bowl], if you bowl a no-ball and get a wicket on that, there is no one else to blame. Also what it does is it gives a free-hit. The batsmen get a chance to get some kind of momentum.

"So I feel the point at which the no-balls were bowled were quite crucial. If we would have got those wickets, we would have got an opportunity to bowl one or two overs of the spinners and get away without them giving too many runs."

The captain, though, got a bit soft on his bowlers towards the end, while maintaining that front-foot no-balls are not acceptable.

"I don't want to be too tough on them. But when there is pressure, you have to be at your best. No-ball is something that can be avoided, especially the front-foot no-ball."

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