Bengaluru: Mahendra Singh Dhoni was all praise for young Hardik Pandya, who held his nerve during the last few moments and executed the instructions brilliantly by not bowling a yorker to Shuvagato Hom, which could have turned into a full-toss.
“There were quite a few stuff we were discussing, one thing was for sure, we did not want him (Hardik) to bowl a yorker. It had to be a back of a length, but how back of a length, that was the question. You don’t want to bowl a wide. We were deciding out field and I think he executed really well. It’s nice to have hood plans but the plan only looks good when it is executed well,” Dhoni said at post-match presentation ceremony.
Dhoni did not reveal his mid-pitch conversations with veteran Ashish Nehra. “I don’t want to say everything but the decision was what length to bowl, what line to bowl. If you are going for yorkers, what is the field and also keep in mind about the strength of the yorker. And also I knew, once the 20th over starts, you can take all the time you want. I can’t be fined,” Dhoni said cheekily. Dhoni also was sympathetic for Bangladesh’s best finisher Mahmudullah Riyadh.
“Often it does, at times you look to finish it with the big shot. And if you think you have wickets in hand, you think others can finish it. And when you are batting well, you go for your shots. Its a learning curve for Mahmudullah as it happens with all finishers. That’s what cricket is all about, If that had gone for a six, it was a great shot. Great courage. That’s what cricket is. A commentator can have a look later and say whether it was a bad shot or not,” Dhoni said with his tongue firmly in cheek.
Dhoni also praised Jasprit Bumrah, who bowled an unbelievable 19th over. “Bumrah bowled really well, the second over that he bowled, he was under pressure, with the field restrictions. It was a reflection of his misfield and the dropped catch, but he had to forget about what happened and that’s what we told. I feel he is somebody who is very good with the yorkers and he did very well. “There were two occasions when we had to make the game and instead of using our part-timers and we bowled our frontliners. It was a very good bowling effort.”
Man of the Match Ravichandran Ashwin admitted that the team was very tense during the final few overs. “We’ve never really got together and worried so much. I don’t have anything left. I am drained after today’s game. I will just crash now. Credit to Jasprit in the manner he bowled. He had put down a catch, he went for 22 in 2 overs. He was down but Bumrah came back for us. “I probably gave him a cheeky idea to try a Mankad in the end. We might have taken flak, but why not. We have not probably batted well.”
Ashwin also gave his insight to what went on during the last delivery bowled by Pandya. “Before that ball, everybody got together and decided what we wanted to do. My idea was to bowl a bouncer, I think that’s the toughest ball to hit for a lower-order batsman. He missed it and we won the game,” Ashwin said. On Dhoni taking off the right gloves, Ashwin said:” It made sense to run to the stumps. It could have ricocheted off had he thrown wioth gloves on. If we didn’t win, we could have had a Super Over and lost the match. I thought when Mushfiq hit that boundary, I thought they would nudge it around. But Hardik held his nerve. He had to bowl the last over, he and Nehra bowled really well. The other choice was Yuvraj.
“After we made 146, we knew we had a task. It was a small ground. The thing that was spoken in the huddle was they could take off or they could commit hara kiri. Mushfiq wanted to lap him, but that slog was the game that sealed it. Mahmudullah’s shot was the pressure and credit to Jadeja that was a brilliant catch. This is one of those games where it was very tricky. “Initially, it was all about bowling good balls, but once Tamim was dropped, I knew we were on the back foot. When I came back, it was a catch-22, I didn’t know whether to go for wickets or contain. When I am confused, I just go for a wickets. I have seen one close game that was 2007 World Cup. This was it. It was the closest game.”
Bangladesh captain Mahsrafe Mortaza said that they lost the match in the last three balls. “We were on top till the last three balls, we could have taken singles. But anyways, bad luck. The last three balls, we lost three wickets, we needed only two runs off three balls,” Mashrafe says. “Specially today it is really disappointing. Overall we played well, except Pakistan. Today it is disappointing.”