India skipper Virat Kohli has defended his predecessor MS Dhoni for his ultra-defensive approach during the second ODI against England at Lord’s on Saturday (July 14). England registered a thumping 86-run victory at the ‘Home of Cricket to level the ODI series 1-1.
Dhoni, renowned for his swashbuckling style, came out at number six at the end of the 27th over with India 140-4 while chasing 323. However, he played 31 dot balls in his 59-ball 37 as the required run-rate rocketed upwards. The wicketkeeper-batsman managed to hit only two boundaries in his innings whereas his strike-rate was 62.71.
In the post-match presentation, when asked about Dhoni's innings, Kohli said: "These things always come up whenever he isn't able to play the way he wants."
"People just wait to jump on him (Dhoni). When it works, they call him the best finisher and if it doesn't, they jump on him. Today (Saturday) was a bad day for all of us, not just him. He is experienced and the idea was to take it deep as you don't want to lose by 150-160 runs," he added.
The star-studded Indian batting line-up slumped to 60-3 despite a 49-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. And Kohli feels that particular phase was the turning point of the game.
"I think we started off well with the bat, it was a really good wicket to play on throughout the course of the game. The wicket did slow up in the second half but when we lost wickets early, that's where we lost it," the Indian captain opined.
"You need wickets in hand during such chases, so when you lose early wickets, it's tough to recover. Wicket got slower but credit to their bowlers for executing their plans. These are games where you test the character of the guys," he further remarked.
Virat also lauded the England spinners — Moeen Ali and Rashid Khan —for being able to create pressure on the formidable Indian batting line-up.
"Both Moeen and Rashid sensed the opportunity, they are good bowlers and created pressure. If we hadn't lost early wickets, we might have been able to attack them more," he concluded.