India vs Australia: Tonight was an MS Dhoni classic, says Virat Kohli


M S Dhoni pulled off a tight finish for India.

M S Dhoni pulled off a tight finish for India just like old times to silence his critics after captain Virat Kohli laid the foundation for a series-levelling six-wicket win against Australia with his 39th ODI hundred on Tuesday.

Chase master Kohli could not take his team to the finishing line this time but Dhoni (55 off 54) and Dinesh Karthik (25 off 14) rose to the occasion with an unbeaten 57-run stand off 34 balls, taking India home with four balls to spare. Australia scored 298-8 after opting to bat.

Man of the match Kohli was dismissed in the 44th over after making 104 off 112 balls with five fours and two sixes. Dhoni, who has been coping a lot of criticism for his waning finishing skills, turned back the clock and took India past the finish line with a final over six.

Speaking at the post-match presentation winning captain and player of the Match, Virat Kohli said, “Very pleased. We wanted to try and restrict them in the end. To get them (Maxi and Marsh) in two balls was outstanding for us. Those breakthroughs were crucial. That meant we were not chasing 330. Bhuvi was outstanding with the ball, he came back and brought us in the game towards the end. Backing 5 bowlers and getting job done is always a pleasing thing for a captain.”

“The way Australians were batting, we really pulled things back. You look for little moments to pump you up, I try and get into that zone. Every time we have a target on board, I try to stay as aware as possible in recognising when to strike. When it comes off it looks nice. I try and keep things simple. You have to take calculated risks. Hopefully, I can keep helping the team.”

“It was a really tough day, you saw MS in the end, he was tired as well. You need a good day’s rest. There is no doubt that he should be a part of this team. Tonight was an MS classic. Only he knows what’s going through his mind. He calculates the game so well. He backs himself to hit those big hits. Hats off to him and Dinesh as well. He came in and showed the right kind of intent. MS was as composed as ever. We try and help each other (MS and himself). Tonight was special for us.”

Meanwhile, losing captain Aaron Finch said, “I thought we hung in there really well. They batted really well and you have to keep taking wickets and at the end it was always tough. When Dhoni is there we knew we had to get both of them out (Kohli and Dhoni). Credit to India, they played well. We played very well as well. Overall, it’s a good game of cricket.”

“At the end in ODI cricket if you’d got in-batters and especially against experienced batters like MS, it’s always tough. Always great playing cricket at the Home of cricket (MCG). It’s going to be great series as if it isn’t already and hoping to make it 2-1 at the MCG,” he concluded.