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I am losing my ability to freely rotate strike: MS Dhoni

“I have decided to bat up and let others finish”

Ranchi: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is known to ‘blow the competition away’ in the most tensed ending hours of any match, divulged that he is losing his finishing abilities.

“I have batted lower down for a long time, I think 200 innings down the order. To some extent, I am losing my ability to freely rotate in the middle, so I have decided to bat up and let the others finish,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

“But I know I should still look for the big shots. Once you get 15-20 runs, you get into the groove. There were points in the middle where I had to pull myself from playing big shots,” said Dhoni.

India beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the third ODI riding on Virat Kohli’s sterling century.

Kohli’s unbeaten 154 drove India to their 286-run target in 48.2 overs as the hosts took a 2-1 lead in the five-match one-day series.

“Bit of luck went my way, I feel sorry for Ross (Taylor), it’s never easy to drop a catch and the batsman carries through. I’ve done that and Brendon (McCullum) got 300 in Wellington,” Kohli said referring to the drop catch when the batsman was on six.

“We may have given a bit too much to New Zealand, but we took it as an opportunity to chase them down, because we know we are a good chasing team. Good to have MS up the order, and Manish (Pandey) gave me confidence as well when he came in. Shows the confidence he has, he was run-out in the last game, but he came here and did his job. Some of the boundaries he hit early on helped me relax”

“We fed off each other, I fed off MS as well. And it wasn’t the easiest pitch. Some balls were stopping on us. In the past I have tried to play out of my skin, getting overexcited, but I’ve realised if I can time the ball, and hit the gaps and run hard, I can still get runs. If a bowler can hit the right areas, a batsman can be good playing proper shots,” Kohli said.

Kohli and Dhoni, who scored 80, were involved in a 151-run third-wicket partnership that set up the comprehensive win.

Talking about the partnership with Dhoni, he said, “Me and MS had a chat, he took on the spinner, even his mistimed hits go over the crowd. I know teams want to get me out immediately, so I take my time, go with the flow and then attack at the end. For that you need to play percentage cricket and I know I can play good cricketing shots and still get runs.”

Meanwhile speaking about Kohli, Dhoni said : “Right from the start, he’s somebody who always wanted to improve and win games for India. He’s someone who has learnt a lot. He knows his strength well and executes his plan. If he can bat the way he’s batting, each and every individual will be happy. He’s not only made the fans proud, but also the family. That’s what you look to do”

Kohli said it was important for him and Dhoni to build a partnership to lay the foundation for the victory. “It was great to have MS at four. We could build a partnership and we scored 150 and then Manish Pandey also held his own and gave me the confidence,” he said.

“The surprise package has been Kedar, he has always given us wickets in the middle overs, and that’s when you can restrict the opposition. But we have to finish better with the ball, the last five, six, seven overs. I have no clue how he gets wickets. It’s important to have one in the top five to bowl a few, especially with left-handers in the opposition with him being an offspinner,” Dhoni said while speaking about Kedar Jadav.

He further said, “I think we would have done better in the last game, but what’s important is coming back and doing well in the next one and I felt it was a very good game for us initially, I thought it would be a high-scoring game, but the bowlers did well in the middle overs to restrict them to 280.”

The two teams now head to Ranchi for the fourth ODI on Wednesday.