Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s role as a finisher again came under scanner as New Zealand pipped India by six runs in a thrilling second ODI encounter, in Delhi tonight.
The Black Caps levelled the five-match series 1-1 and in the process also won their first game of the tour. India were all-out for 236 in 49.3 overs chasing a target of 243. It is also after 11 long years that India have lost an ODI at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Hardik Pandya (36) and Umesh Yadav (18) had tried their best with a 49-run stand for the ninth wicket but Pandya s dismissal in the penultimate over ended India’s hopes with Southee cleaning up Jasprit Bumrah (0) in the final over with a perfect yorker.
But the match again raised question mark about Captain Cool s ability to win matches even when there wasn t too much pressure of the scoreboard.
The target was not a big one and the juncture at which Dhoni walked in gave him ample time to play himself into the game. He ran well but also at times got stuck with Mitchell Santner drying up the runs.
Keeping a cover and an extra cover, Santner flighted it outside the off-stump and the Indian skipper found it difficult to get going.
There were only three boundaries in his 39 off 65 balls but what was striking was his inability to generate power in his shots most of the times. He played as many as 37 dot balls.
The only standout shot was a short arm pull off Henry. He failed to attack both Santner and Anton Devcich.
Henry ended Dhoni s misery with a stunning one handed return catch when the Indian skipper failed to read a slower one. But it was a more a case of the increasing pressure on him.
He added 66 for the fifth wicket with Kedar Jadhav (41).
But it was Kedar, who looked like a dominant partner hitting couple of sixes off Santner.
First was a half-tracker that was pulled into the mid-wicket stands and the second was an inside out shot over extra covers. He also ran well between the wickets with his skipper converting the ones into twos.
Just when he was looking good for a half-century, Kedar tried to steer a fuller delivery from Henry to be caught behind as India were in a spot at 139 for five.
What was weird was Dhoni s decision to play second fiddle to both Kedar and then Axar Patel (17) as he let the game drift with the dot balls adding to the pressure.
Dhoni s dismissal did increase pressure as Axar and Amit Mishra (1) were dismissed by part-time off-breaks from Martin Guptill.