Melbourne, Jan 18: India's seasoned campaigner MS Dhoni proved he's still the best finisher in the limited-overs format as he guided Team India to a series-clinching win over Australia in the third ODI here on Friday (January 18).
Chasing a target of 231, India reached home for the loss of three wickets and four balls to spare. Dhoni remained unbeaten at 87 off 114 balls and ensured his team doesn't falter in the tricky run chase.
Came coming in to bat at No. 4, Dhoni first forged a partnership of 54 runs with skipper Virat Kohli (46 off 62) and later stitched an unbeaten partnership of 121 with comeback man Kedar Jadhav (61* off 57). Dhoni had his share of luck in the game early on as he was dropped at point by Glenn Maxwell on the very first ball he faced in the game. Later, the Ranchi-cricketer was dropped at 74 by Aaron Finch while he was trying to up the ante against the opposition.
Updated figures.....— Rajneesh Gupta (@rgcricket) January 18, 2019
Highest batting average in successful chases in ODIs (min.25 inns):
103.07 MS Dhoni (2783 runs in 73 innings)
97.98 Virat Kohli (4899 runs in 78 innings)#AUSvIND https://t.co/NQGfSFPrW3
This was India's first bilateral ODI series win on Australian soil as Dhoni struck three back-to-back fifties and a was named the man of the series for his efforts in the series. It was his seventh Man of the Series award but first since five-match ODI series at home against England in 2011. Dhoni now averages a whopping 103.07 - highest in the ODIs.
Talking about his effort into the middle, Dhoni said it wasn't easy to bat on the slow wicket and credited Kedar Jadhav for his innings, "It was a slow wicket, so it was difficult to hit whenever you wanted to. No point going after the bowlers who were bowling well, so we wanted to take it deep and that was the plan. Kedar did a great job in executing,"
When asked about his match-winning performances in the back-to-back games and if he loved batting at No. 4 the veteran cricketer said he's ready to bat at any position, depending on the team's requirements.
"I am happy to bat at any number. The important thing is where the team needs me. I can't say I can't bat at No. 6 after playing 14 years," said Dhoni at the post-match presentation.
India will now be heading for New Zealand to play ODI and T20I series against New Zealand. It will be interesting to see at which spot the 37-year-old bats in the upcoming games.