Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh has come out hard at MS Dhoni’s critics after India lost the first semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 against New Zealand by 18 runs, saying that the Men in Blue would not have come close to the target if there was no Dhoni at the crease.
Hailing Dhoni’s ability to stay calm under pressure, Waugh went on to elaborate why criticizing the former India skipper is unfair.
“I think it is pretty unfair.,” Waugh said while speaking to ANI. “MS Dhoni has won so many games to India and he has played in the same way over the long period of time. He can get you in a situation that can give you a chance to win the game and without him, there would not be a chance to win a game.”
“Of course, you are not going to win every time. The other day, he was a couple of inches away from being home for the second run. He may have still won that game. I know how hard it is to win a one-day game while chasing and he has done better than anyone in the history of the game,” added Waugh.
Chasing 240 to win, India were reduced to 92 for 6 after a brilliant bowling spell from Matt Henry and Trent Boult sent the top-order packing. Dhoni then along with Ravindra Jadeja added 116 runs off 112 balls for the seventh wicket.
After Jadeja’s dismissal, Dhoni kept India’s hope of securing final spot alive until the penultimate over – when he was run out after a brilliant direct-hit from Martin Guptill.
Waugh said he expected India to chase the target but praised Boult and Henry’s spell.
“I expected India to chase down 240 but there was great bowling from Henry and Boult up front, three early wickets. Due to pressure in big game situations, it is hard to chase runs. India will be no doubt disappointed. They would have expected to make 240,” he said.
New Zealand will now take on England in the finals at Lord’s on Sunday, and Waugh backed the hosts to win the title.
“I cannot really get past England but I would not be surprised if New Zealand played really well. But England, on their current form and momentum, just feels like it is their time,” he concluded.