A captain leading from the front is nothing new. But when one single-handledly influences the outcome of a match, it is not something you see everyday. Mahendra Singh Dhoni did just that against Bangladesh on Bengaluru tonight.
In a match that went topsy-turvy and it wasn’t clear till the final ball which team wants to win it the most, Dhoni held his own and led India to a heart-stopping 1-run win. Even as India bowlers and more worryingly, fielders weren’t up to the mark for most parts of the game, Dhoni kept backing his men. He made the right moves, interchanged fielders, took calculated risks by using strike bowlers and was always ahead of the game as a wicket-keeper from behind the stumps.
Giving three consecutive overs to Ashwin in a bid to take wickets early on, backing Jasprit Bumrah despite him have an off day in the field, keeping Hardik Pandya to bowl the final over and removing one glove at the start of the final ball to effect a run out – these are all captaincy tricks that you can’t be taught.
Even small things like being aware when the batsman has got his foot in the air for that one small second and then stumping him, shows how quick he is Dhoni even at 34. Dhoni created his own luck today and he is deservedly the toast of the nation as it celebrates the festival of colours.
“Dhoni knew what to do. His plans showed that he was at the top of his game,” said batting legend Sunil Gavaskar to a TV channel after the match. Here are some more tweets praising India’s captain cool.