After a dream run, Team India's journey in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 came to an end after their 18-run loss against New Zealand in the first semi-final at the Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday. This was also India's second consecutive loss in the semi-finals of the quadrennial event.
Chasing a target of 240, India were off to the worst possible start after they were reduced to 5/3 in the fourth over. The Kiwi pacers Trent Boult and Matt Henry worked in tandem as they got rid off the big three top-order batsmen early. The Men In Blue found themselves in a spot of bother after the early dismissals of Rohit Sharma, skipper Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul respectively.
When the top three were sent back to the pavilion, the fans still had the belief that MS Dhoni could do the unthinkable and pull off a miracle for India. However, they were disappointed when the 2011 World Cup-winning skipper did not come to bat after the early setback.
Even cricketing experts were questioning India sending a youngster Rishabh Pant ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. According to PTI, it was batting coach Sanjay Bangar, who decided on Dhoni's slot. CoA is set to have a World Cup review meeting with the coaching staff and skipper Virat Kohli. This decision by Sanjay Bangar might be a point of discussion as the CoA may want to know why chief coach Ravi Shastri didn't veto it.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli justified the team's decision of sending MS Dhoni to bat at no. 7 during the semi-final clash against New Zealand at the Old Trafford stadium, Manchester. Responding to the question of a reporter during the post-match press briefing, Kohli said that MS Dhoni was given the role to play in the number seven slot, based on the game's situation.
"After the first few games, he (Dhoni) was given the role to bat at that position. When the situation is bad, then Dhoni can control the situation", said Kohli.
Dhoni played a crucial role while chasing the 240-run target set by the Kiwis, as he built an innings reviving 100 plus runs partnership with Ravindra Jadeja. While the left-handed all-rounder was on the offensive, Dhoni perfectly played the role of a supporting partner at the other end. The calm and composed Dhoni was run-out as he got to his half-century, which signaled the end of India's World Cup run.