Dhoni backs inexperienced middle-order despite failure

File Photo: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Ranchi: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said the inexperienced middle-order needs more time to settle after India lost to New Zealand by 19 runs, failing to chase down a modest target of 261 runs in the fourth One-Day International (ODI).

“Batting down the order on wickets like this when you’re chasing is always going to be tough. You will have to give them time. They will find their way. After they get more and more games like this they will figure out what suits best for them to chase a total,” he said after the match here on Wednesday.

“On a wicket like this, when the score was not too much, you need partnerships. With two new balls, it comes on to bat better initially. The wicket slows down. It does not come on to the bat that well. It was a difficult phase and it becomes difficult to rotate,” he added.

The captain said the job of a batting finisher is not easy.

“Batting down the order is one of the toughest things to do especially on wickets like these. There will be pressure to rotate, to get a partnership. It’s not easy. You don’t always get a player who’s complete and bats at no 5, 6 or 7.”

Ajinkya Rahane (57) and Virat Kohli (45) gave India a good start but their chase went haywire, ultimately folding for 241 in 48.4 overs despite being 128-2 at one point.

Lower down the order, Axar Patel (38) and Amit Mishra (14) revived India’s hopes briefly. But before they could convert it into a match-winning partnership Mishra was run out.

Star batsman Kohli was caught behind in his attempt to cut a wide delivery from leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and his failure coincided with India losing the match.

Asked whether India were heavily reliant on Kohli, Dhoni said: “It’s not like that. The stats don’t exactly reflect the exact scenario.”

The five-match series is currently locked at 2-2 with the final ODI to be played on Saturday in Visakhapatnam.


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