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India vs Australia: Glenn Maxwell defends MS Dhoni’s slow batting in Visakhapatnam T20I

The 37-year-old found a friend in the Australian ranks and it was their batting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

It was only in the last month that Mahendra Singh Dhoni was back as the supporters’ hero after he slammed three back-to-back half-centuries in the ODI series in Australia. But as cricket doesn’t take long to show its ruthless leveler’s face, the former India captain again came under heavy criticism on Sunday after coming up with another sluggish batting performance against the same opponents – this time at home and in a T20I.

When all other batsmen failed to survive, Dhoni remained unbeaten on 29 (off 37 balls) to ensure that India did not get all out before playing the full 20 overs but it was his ordinary strike rate of 78-plus that earned a backlash. “Dhoni is finished,” returned the slogan.

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However, the 37-year-old found a friend in the Australian ranks and it was their batting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell. The latter, who scored a crucial 56 for the visitors in the Visakhapatnam T20I after they lost two quick wickets, defended Dhoni saying he did what he could on a low and slow track that was on offer. Indian bowlers did their best to defend the Indian score of 126 for 7 and lost the match only in the final delivery. Australia now have an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series with the second T20I set to be played in Bengaluru on February 27.

“It (the slow strike rate) was probably fair enough. With the way the wicket was behaving, it was difficult to score for any batter, let alone a guy who is not known for his power-hitting in Chahal,” Maxwell said in the post-match press conference. Maxwell, who recently saw his team Melbourne Stars losing to team-mate Aaron Finch’s Melbourne Renegades in the final of the Big Bash League in Australia, scored 56 off 43 balls.

Even MS found it hard on that wicket, says Maxwell

“MS is obviously a world-class finisher and even he was finding it hard to hit the middle of the bat. So, I think it was right of him to try and farm the strike. He hit a six in the last over and I think that showed how difficult it was.” The 30-year-old also lauded the Australian bowlers for keeping things tight for Dhoni.

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