For quite some time, former India captain MS Dhoni was under the scrutiny for his rather circumspect approach in Twenty-20 internationals. However, it all changed during the first T20I against Sri Lanka in Cuttack last night as the wicket-keeper batsman was promoted up the order by the team management and he delivered it with a quick fire 39 off 22 balls.
Seeing the way Dhoni approached his innings after coming to bat in the 13th over, stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma said that the legendary glovesman is an ideal man for the no. 4 slot.
"MSD (Dhoni), he's just class. No. 4 really paid off. He's played so many games for us, won so many games for us and moving forward, we feel making him bat at No. 4 is ideal," Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"For a long period of time, MS has been finishing games off, but we want him to bat freely now, without that pressure. We were not sure what the ideal score would be, with dew and the wicket playing weirdly. So I thought 180 was a great effort," he added.
Rohit also praised his fellow opener KL Rahul and middle-order batsman Manish Pandey. Rahul scored a fluent 61 off 48 balls at the top while Pandey struck a dazzling 32 off 18 balls, with 2 fours and as many sixes.
"It was a great move, for KL (Rahul) to start at the top. He was not part of the ODI squad, but he came here and showed he belonged. He batted magnificently. And great finish to the innings by MS (Dhoni) and Pandey. Pandey hasn't had much game time in the middle, so to come out and bat like that is good," Rohit said.
Thanks to a collective batting effort, India posted a pretty stiff target (180 for 3 in 20 overs), a score which they defended by 93 runs. The wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav scalped 6 wickets between them while Pandya chipped in with three.
Lauding the bowling unit, Rohit said: "Chahal and Kuldeep (Yadav) have always been our wicket-taking options in the middle. They understand what the team expects and they come out and deliver. No words can describe how good they have been for us."
"The fast bowlers as well, Jaydev (Unadkat) playing his first game after a long time, taking an early wicket. (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Hardik) Pandya keeping things tight. Conditions weren't easy and they did very very well," concluded the stand-in Indian captain.