Mahendra Singh Dhoni did it once again. He is showing us all that age does not make a difference if one is alert on the cricket field. After taking a rest in against the West Indies and in the T20 matches against the Australians Dhoni is back at it and is in great form. He batted exceedingly well against the Australians in the three ODIs, taking India home to the two wins with which they won the series. He played a good inning against the New Zealanders too before being sidelined due to an injury. His performance as far as batting goes was not up to the mark he has set himself during 2018 but he is back in form as a batsman and showing us all why he is still rated as the best wicketkeeper in the World.
In the fifth ODI James Neesham along with Mitchell Santner was going great guns. They had plundered 23 runs off the previous two overs and it looked like New Zealand was headed to a certain victory. On the second ball of the 37th over of the match, Neesham missed an expansive sweep off Kedar Jadhav and was struck on the pads. While everyone, including Dhoni, was appealing for an lbw decision, Neesham, not knowing where the ball had gone, stepped out of the crease. Dhoni, alert as ever, gathered the ball and threw it at the wicket running Neesham out in a jiffy. That was the wicket that India wanted desperately in order to win the match for Neesham had scored 44 aggressive runs till then.
This was not the first instance that Dhoni has shown his alertness and presence of mind behind the stumps. In the 2016 T20 World Cup Dhoni had stumped in the blink of an eye when the batsman, Sabbir Rahman of Bangladesh, had lost his balance playing a flick shot off a Suresh Raina delivery. The stumping of Ian Bell in the rain-curtailed match between India and England in the 2103 Champions Trophy final is another such instance. The match was reduced to 20 and England’s Ian Bell was batting well when Dhoni stumped him in a fraction of a second that he had lifted his foot to play a Ravindra Jadeja ball. And again in the 2016 World T20 final, when Bangladesh needed just two runs off the final ball, Dhoni showed his magic behind the stumps. Hardik Pandya bowled the ball wide off the stumps which the batsman, Shuvagata Hom, missed. Dhoni had his right glove off and had come up a couple off paces closer to the wicket. The batsmen went for the run and Dhoni ran out the non-striker Mustafizur Rahman.
The alertness that Dhoni exhibits on the field of play is amazing. The Indian fans were ecstatic on Neesham’s dismissal as that wicket assured India of a certain victory in the final ODI. The Twitterati were happy and there were many tweets complimenting Dhoni for his excellent work behind the stumps.
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