India vs Sri Lanka: MS Dhoni will always be a match winner, says KL Rahul

Mahendra Singh Dhoni scored 39 runs in 22 balls at a strike rate of 177 and helped India gain a solid total of 180 runs.

Former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday justified skipper Rohit Sharma’s decision to send him up the batting order after the dismissal of in-form Shreyas Iyer. Dhoni, who has faced criticism in recent months over his form, especially in the shortest format, went on to score 39 runs in 22 balls at a strike rate of 177.27. His solid innings which comprised of 4 fours and 1 six, led India to a massive total of 180 on a troubling Cuttack pitch.

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Speaking on Dhoni’s performance, opening batsman KL Rahul said that the 37-year old has always been in the best of his form.

“I think he is in great shape, he almost killed me as soon as he came into bat. I don’t know what form you are talking about but every time I switch on the TV or every time I have played with him, he always seems to get the runs. The last time we were here in Cuttack, he got a massive hundred against England and he has been contributing really well in every game,” Rahul said.

The 25-year old added that Dhoni will always be a match winner for India. “He is somebody we all look up to, he is somebody who is a match-winner and he will always be one,” he said.

Rahul further went on to add that India’s recent success can be attributed to the contribution given by middle-order and lower-order batsman. “It’s not a bad thing that the top three is scoring runs for any team but yes I think in the last three or four series, the middle order and the lower order have also contributed a lot and that’s why I think we have been successful and winning so consistently,” he said.

He further said that it is difficult for a middle-order batsman to do the job all the time. “For a middle-order batsman, when he walks in, it’s not the easiest, you need to get on with the game as soon as you can. You need to maintain a certain strike rate so it can’t be easy but that’s how the sport is, it’s not easy for anybody batting anywhere,” he said.

The right-hand batsmen scored also displayed a strong batting performance as he scored 61 runs on 48 balls and laid a foundation for Dhoni and Manish Pandey to take the total forward. Speaking on his innings, Rahul said, “Every innings is important and with the kind of competition that is in the team, whatever opportunities you get, you need to go out there and make it count, try to do your best and that’s what I did. I tried to keep things simple and I’m very glad that it came off today.”

India registered a massive win by 93 runs in the first T20I as they bowled out Sri Lanka for a meagre total of 87 runs. The second T20I between the two countries will be played on Friday.

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