SEC­OND BEST IN PHOTO FIN­ISH

In­dia lose T20I series fol­low­ing four-run de­feat in Hamil­ton, DK’s de­ci­sion to refuse sin­gle in last over causes sur­prise

The New Indian Express - - SPORT - ASHOK VENU­GOPAL

IT was a case of so near yet so far for In­dia in the fi­nal T20 game at Hamil­ton. With 16 re­quired off the fi­nal over and Di­nesh Karthik at the crease, fans were per­haps re­minded of the Ni­da­has Tro­phy fi­nal, but the bats­man failed to pull off an en­core. More­over, he took a de­ci­sion in the last over which can’t be blamed for the loss, but it ended up rais­ing eye­brows nonethe­less. When 14 was need off four balls, Karthik hit one down the ground, but re­fused to take a sin­gle. It was sur­pris­ing be­cause at the other end was no tail-en­der. Krunal Pandya was go­ing strong and had kept In­dia in the game with some blows of his own. Karthik, by not tak­ing that sin­gle, per­haps un­know­ingly un­der­mined the abil­ity of his part­ner. Ro­hit Sharma did not sin­gle out in­di­vid­u­als for the even­tual loss. “Dis­ap­pointed, but we fought. It was go­ing to be tough, but we were in it till the end. They held their nerve and kept hit­ting the york­ers. The boys were ex­cel­lent through­out the tour and put in a lot of hard work. They will be dis­ap­pointed tonight but we’ve to learn from the mis­takes and move ahead. Would have been nice to fly back with a series win, but lots of pos­i­tives,” the cap­tain said af­ter the match. Back home, for­mer In­dia stumper Bharath Reddy also re­fused to read much into Karthik’s de­ci­sion. “DK tried his best. Small lapses hap­pen in the heat of the mo­ment, due to the pres­sure. He has been do­ing fairly well in the role al­lot­ted to him. He had done well against Aus­tralia also.”

Room for three keep­ers

An in­ter­est­ing as­pect of this T20I series was that In­dia played three wick­et­keep­ers — MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Di­nesh Karthik — in the XI. It may have been forced by the sit­u­a­tion, since all three are ca­pa­ble bats­men. “One has to adapt and play the role given by the team man­age­ment. I see noth­ing wrong in play­ing three wick­et­keep­ers. You can­not be choosy and say that I will do this and do that only. The good thing is all the three can bat and de­liver what the team wants,’’ said Reddy. The ques­tion on ev­ery­one’s mind is whether the trio can be part of the World Cup? Although Pant joined the squad only for the T20Is, he is very much in reck­on­ing. “All the three can be part of the World Cup squad. Dhoni will be our first choice wick­et­keeper. He has still got very good re­flexes and ball sense. With ex­pe­ri­ence, he knows where ex­actly the ball will come if the bats­man misses it. You got to have a re­serve wick­et­keeper on an over­seas tour and Di­nesh has been play­ing as a bats­man for a while.”

AFP

New Zealand pacer Daryl Mitchell cel­e­brates af­ter dis­miss­ing MS Dhoni in Hamil­ton on Sun­day |

| AFP

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