Dhoni: India must learn from stalemate
Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes India’s tie with England in Bangalore will teach his side the value of every run.
The hosts set a platform for victory in the World Cup Group B contest with a mammoth 338, a score their opponents equalled with a single from the final ball of the game.
India failed to bat out their overs by one ball and, crucially, Munaf Patel was one short of a second run as Zaheer Khan looked to scramble two off the penultimate delivery of the innings.
In contrast, Andrew Strauss’ side took 14 from their last over, bowled by Munaf, meaning India were left with one point rather than two.
“I was pretty blank in the last over. But credit to England for the way they batted,” Dhoni said. “With this tie, everyone in the team will realise that even one run is important.”
Both sides’ totals were built on a century from one of their openers; Sachin Tendulkar complied a sublime 120 and Strauss responded with a one-day international-best 158.
Strauss shared a 170-run stand for the third wicket with Ian Bell, which made England favourites until Zaheer removed both in consecutive deliveries.
Both enjoyed lives on 17; Strauss when India did not detect a faint edge behind off Zaheer and Bell when umpire Billy Bowden upheld his lbw decision on the basis the right-hander was struck more than two and a half metres in front over the stumps by Yuvaj Singh, despite the replay otherwise looking plumb.
Dhoni admitted that when Strauss and Bell, who made 69, were in full flow he thought his side were heading to defeat.
“Andrew batted very well and it seemed at one time they would chase the score in 48 or 49 overs,” he said. “The partnership with just two wickets down and the way the two batters were batting made it difficult for our bowlers.”
Zaheer, who put the game in the balance with the wickets of Bell, Strauss and Paul Collingwood in the space on two overs, praised the England skipper’s knock.
“It was a tight game - that explains everything,” he said “Strauss batted damn well to put pressure on us. I felt that we would win the game, but it was a close contest between bat and ball.”