New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was on seventh heaven on July 10 after the Kiwis beat India by 18 runs to secure a spot in the finals of the World Cup. After a sharp pace attack that saw the top-order collapse for India, Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni built a crucial partnership that saved India the blues of getting bowled out too early and brought them within reach of winning the match.
While addressing the post-match press briefing, the Kiwis skipper was asked if he would have picked Dhoni in the team's playing eleven had he been the captain of the Indian cricket team. "He is not eligible to play for New Zealand. But he is a world-class player", laughed Williamson, going on to explain his stance.
"His experience at this level and in these occasions is so important and his contributions to the game today, yesterday and throughout the campaign was extremely important. The partnership that he was involved in with Jadeja who came in and hit the ball better than anyone did in the two teams, was very valuable", said Williamson.
The Kiwis skipper commended Dhoni and said that he was a world-class cricketer with massive amounts of experience. Williamson jokingly asked the reporter if Dhoni wished to change nationalities.
"Is he looking to change nationalities? We will consider his selection if we have to", he said.
The Men In Blue's hopes rested on Mahendra Singh Dhoni but his run out in the penultimate over by a direct hit from Martin Guptill signaled the end of India's campaign.
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 of 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.
After India were reduced to 92/6, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja added 116 runs for the seventh wicket stand and almost took India on the cusp of victory. Jadeja top-scored for India with a 59-ball 77 at a strike rate of 130.51 while MSD scored a 72-ball 50. Unfortunately, his run out in the penultimate over ended the two-time winners' hopes as they were bundled out for 221 with three balls to spare.