Suresh Raina says India could’ve won WC semi-final vs NZ had MS Dhoni batted at no 4
After India lost to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup semi-final, many cricket legends such as Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman criticized team management’s decision to send Mahendra Singh Dhoni to number 7. India, which lost to the Kiwis by a margin of 18-runs, were in a precarious situation after India lost four fast wickets in the span of ten overs.
Despite losing those first wickets, team management decided to send MS Dhoni to number 7, and it turned out to be costly as Dhoni eliminated in ’49 by Martin Guptill, whose direct shot hit the bull’s eyes. Following Dhoni’s dismissal, India’s offer for a third World Cup trophy was crushed.
-Raina about Dhoni-
Recently, Indian cricketer Suresh Raina also opined that MS Dhoni could have won the match by India, had he sent to number 4. Dhoni could have guided Rishabh Pant and traded the match for India, the left-hander said.
In an interview with the Hindus, the left-hander declared, “If he (Dhoni) had come earlier, he could have guided Pant and then we would still have Pandya and Jadeja. Even then he kept India in the fight until the end, and we would have had won except for Guptill’s direct hit.”
After India’s departure in the 2019 World Cup semi-final, MS Dhoni took a gap year to train with paramilitary forces in Kashmir. However, after the global show, many reports came out indicating that the 38-year-old veteran would be retiring soon.
Speaking about Dhoni’s career, Raina feels it is up to Dhoni to declare his retirement. “Only Dhoni will decide when he quits the game,” Raina said.
India’s No. 4 position became a hotly debated topic, especially after the selectors and team management attempted 15-16 players at No. 4, but no one seemed to have consolidated their place. However, the 32-year-old believes India’s solution to No. 4, as two successive T20 World Cups (2020 and 2021) lined up.
“I can be No. 4 for India. I’ve batted in that position before and delivered. I’m looking forward to an opportunity with two T20 World Cups on the way.”
Suresh Raina has 226 ODI caps and 78 T20I caps to its credit.