MS Dhoni had struggled in ODIs in 2018, failing to get a big score. His finishing prowess was also on the wane and there was mounting pressure on him as his strike-rate had also fallen. In the ODI against Australia in Sydney, Dhoni started off in style by scoring his 68th fifty. However, he was subject to immense criticism for his slow approach. He had taken eight balls to get off the mark and he had made just six runs in 35 balls. Although he broke the shackles with a six off Lyon, the strike-rate of Dhoni barely went over 50. When he was dismissed for 51 thanks to an umpiring blunder and because Ambati Rayudu had extinguished the only review for India, it left Virat Kohli’s side with too much to do.
With the asking rate climbing to over 10, Rohit Sharma kept India in the hunt with his magnificent century, his seventh against Australia but once he fell for 133, India just capitulated and they lost the match by 34 runs to trail 0-1 in the three-match series. Dhoni’s knock was subject to plenty of criticism from social media, with many calling it a ‘great Test innings’ in an ODI match. Here are some of the tweets.
Admirers - MS Dhoni did awesomely well. That's Wrong.
Doubters - MS Dhoni was the sole reason for this loss. That's Wrong.
Reality - MS Dhoni resurrected the innings but played way too many dot balls for it.
Conclusion - MS Dhoni is still out of form after all.#AUSvIND— Arjun (@LifeIsAnElation) January 12, 2019
What a 🐐 Dhoni is, scores a 50 in 98 balls and gets out knowing India needs to accelerate now.
-Tweep living in Dhonial.#AUSvIND— سانیا Saniya (@touche_always) January 12, 2019
I don't think there's anything new to be learnt about Dhoni. He's not the player he used to be. But, more importantly, ODI cricket has moved on from when he was at his best. Tendulkar had this great ability to keep up as the game advanced. Dhoni hasn't got that extreme ability.— cricketingview (@cricketingview) January 12, 2019
It would've been better if MS Dhoni retired from limited Overs cricket instead Test Cricket.— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) January 12, 2019
Ajit Agarkar, former India pace bowler, while speaking to ESPNCricinfo, had also criticised Dhoni’s knock, saying it left Rohit with plenty to do. “Rohit can get 288 all by himself. There has to be a support from the other end. And not from someone who is striking at 50 when he finishes after 100 balls. And, 100 balls are a lot of deliveries in one-day cricket,” Agarkar said.
Dhoni controversial dismissal
With Dhoni on 51 and the partnership with Rohit nearing 150, India seemed to be on course but Behrendorff trapped Dhoni LBW. However, replays showed that the ball had pitched outside the line of leg stump. However, with Rayudu having used the review, Dhoni had no choice but to be walk immediately and this proved to be a major turning point. The LBW decision sparked plenty of fire against the umpire, with many terming it an umpiring blunder.
Just awful umpiring 😐— Jiya 🏏 (@jiyaasahni) January 12, 2019
A howler that even the commentators couldn’t predict in normal time.— D_le _'Neil (@Don579) January 12, 2019
In 2018, Dhoni has been criticised for batting too slowly and for not attacking the spinners. One hopes that in the next 12 ODIs before the World Cup, Dhoni has a chance to iron out some of the flaws that have crept in his batting. With Rohit Sharma also backing Dhoni to be India’s natural number four, the former India skipper could head into the next game in Adelaide high on confidence.