MS Dhoni proved yet again just why he was Captain Cool in India vs Bangladesh, ICC T20 World Cup 2016. The thriller between India and Bangladesh showcased Dhonis brilliance and prowess. In cricket, it is said it is not over till the last ball is bowled. And the phrase stayed true in the India-Bangladesh ICC World Twenty20 tie that ended in a thriller in the favour of hosts.
While India has stumbled to put up a descent score on their boards, their fielding performance was much more disappointing which included misfields and few crucial catch drops. But Dhonis trust was awful against the bowler Jaspreet Bumrah who had a bad day on the field. Bumrahs comeback in the 19th over was exceptional. Conceding just 6 runs of the vital over was phenomenal and has laid foundation for the final over.
The captain-wicketkeeper had, earlier in the innings, affected a stumping off a wide ball in which the batsman’s foot was behind the crease, but in the air for a fraction of a second. Had the bails been whipped off a moment earlier or later, he would not have been out. But this was a man with the eyes of a hawk and the awareness of a cougar. Sabbir Rahman, who had scored 26 runs in 15 balls, was dismissed not by the bowler but by the keeper. It was not the only moment of brilliance from the Indian captain, whose unbeaten 13 had taken India past 140.
Unfortunately for India, that final over was to be bowled by Hardik Pandya, since the most experienced bowler of the side, Ashish Nehra, had already bowled out in the 18th over. Pandya, who had conceded 20 off his first two overs, came on to bowl with Bangladesh needing 11 runs from 6 balls. The field was carefully arranged to cater to his strengths. This was not a yorker-specialist like Bumrah or a wily fox like Nehra. The balls would be full and wide; that was the plan anyway.
When Pandya conceded 9 off the first 3 balls the celebrations from the Banglas depicted that they were going to end on the winning side. But the inexperienced neighbours wanted to end the match on a high note with a big shot which led to two back to back wickets off the next two balls. Nehra, who was by now talking to Pandya after every ball, again came up. The captain-wicketkeeper was a part of the discussion too. The plotting done, everyone took their positions again. The wicketkeeper removed the wicketkeeping glove on his right hand. The ball was short and outside off, and the batsman missed it. The non-striker took off. The wicketkeeper did not throw, but instead races the non-striker to the stumps.Those knees have supported his weight for thirty-four-and-a-bit years but today they look as though they belong to someone fifteen years younger which snatched the game from Bangladesh.
A lesser cricketer than the Indian captain and wicketkeeper would have fallen to pieces in the final over. The temper may have flared after the boundaries. The shoulders may have sagged. But this was no mere mortal. This was a man for whom leadership is as much about man-management as it is about tactics. This was a man whose successful gambits had often been attributed to luck. It is Dhonis sagacity and celerity that has turned the tables.
(Read Also: Teams reaching the Semi-finals of ICC World T20 2016)