Ever since his failure to take India home in the sole T20 game in England, Indian skipper MS Dhoni has become a hero-turned-villain of sorts, something like what happened with Yuvraj Singh after the T20 World Cup, although Dhoni's blemish seems minor in comparison. However, the whole hullabaloo over how the Indian captain's miscalculation cost India the match seem far-fetched. The match was pretty much out of India's grasp by the time the last over was bowled. 17 runs in 6 balls was a bridge too far even for Dhoni. India actually lost the match since England picked up crucial wickets at the other end at key moments.
The end result of the three-run defeat actually made the match look a lot closer than it was in the end. And, that was primarily because MS Dhoni hit a big six off the first ball of the final over. Had he not cleared the field off the first ball, the result would have been a lot starker, and would have been a better reflection of India's batting performance. Dhoni did nothing different from what he has done in such situations in earlier matches in T20s and ODIs. Most of the times, his move off taking things till the end has paid off. On some occasions, like on Sunday, it had backfired, but such instances have been rare.
Dhoni is primarily being blamed for refusing two singles during the final over, which according to some experts cost India the game. In hindsight, it is very easy to blame Dhoni for the calamity. However, it cannot be assumed India would have won had Dhoni taken those two singles. What is the guarantee that Ambati Rayudu would have hit the runs needed for India to win? Dhoni had seen that Rayudu wasn't timing the ball properly, and hence decided to try and finish off the game himself. Rayudu played a few deliveries but failed to time a single one. Hence, it was understandable that Dhoni wanted to take all the strike in the last over. Had things come off, he would have been a hero one more time.
The way Dhoni approaches a chase is fraught with risk. On numerous occasions in the past, he has taken the game right into the last over before coming up with the big stroke. Incredibly, on more occasions than not he has succeeded in taking India home. Considering the pressure he has been under in tense situations, his success rate has been incredible. With such a risky approach, there are bound to be off days. Sunday was definitely one. And, it is important that the Indian fans take the good with the bad. In spite of his supreme skills as a finisher, Dhoni is human after all, and there are bound to be times when he would come second best.
--By A Cricket Analyst