The Men in Yellow are playing without their two regular players like David Warner and Steve Smith for almost a year. In the absence of this duo, left-hander Usman Khawaja has become a regular member.
The Pakistan-born batsman represented Australia recently more often be it in Tests or in ODIs. Moreover his performances has been decently if not consistently.
In the first ODI of the five-match series against India, Khawaja was his team’s highest scorer. He helped to stable the Aussie innings after the skipper Aaron Finch was dismissed early.
Khawaja went on to score a half-century, but his knock went in vain as Australia lost the game. Despite reducing India to 99/4, it was MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav who took the game away. Their 141-run partnership eased the run chase as the hosts won by 6 wickets.
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Khawaja lauds the veteran Dhoni
Khawaja was extremely impressed with Dhoni’s approach during the tense run chase. He said that the veteran always remain composed under pressure. Khawaja also said that in majority of times Dhoni successfully completes a run chase.
The wicketkeeper-batsman remained on 59 not out from 72 balls. It was his fourth consecutive half-century against the Men in Yellow in ODI cricket. The previous three were scored on Aussie soil during India’s tour Down Under in January.
Dhoni came out to bat when India lost their third wicket for just 95 runs. After 4 runs were added to the board, Ambati Rayudu was also dismissed. Kedar Jadhav (81 not out off 87 balls) then came and stitched a partnership with Dhoni to give India 1-0 lead in the series.
In an interview to cricket.com.au, Khawaja said, “He [Dhoni] just executes well. He has the last three games, just stayed calm and backed himself to take it deep. Then when he needs to he hits a boundary. You can tell he sort of changes gears, he’ll hit single, single, two then try to hit a boundary.”
Dhoni finished the game with a boundary and added that to the list of matches where he finished with a big hit. “It doesn’t always come off but the majority of times it does. He does that really well, that’s experience,” said Khawaja. The veteran player, who will play his fourth World Cup in few days time, averages over 100 in successful Indian run chases.