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India vs Australia: Usman Khawaja lauds MS Dhoni’s run-chasing ability

"He just stayed calm and backed himself to take it deep,"

Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

The international career of Usman Khawaja has been more regular in the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith. Be it in Tests or ODIs, the Pakistan-born batsman has represented Australia more often and has done decently if not consistently.

He was his team’s highest scorer in the first ODI versus India in Hyderabad on Saturday though his fifty went in vain as the hosts turned the tables on Aaron Finch’s men despite receiving a jolt early on. It was an unbeaten 141-run partnership between MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav that drove India home despite losing four wickets for 99.

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Dhoni hit fourth consecutive fifty against Australia in ODIs

Khawaja praised Dhoni over his approach in tense run chases. He lauded the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman’s ability to remain composed under pressure and said he executes run chases successfully ‘majority of times’. Dhoni scored 59 not out in 72 balls and it was his fourth consecutive half-century against Australia in ODIs after the three on the trot he scored against the Kangaroos Down Under in January.

Dhoni came out to bat in Hyderabad when India were 95 for 3 while chasing 237 and then lost Ambati Rayudu quickly. He then added the match-winning partnership with Jadhav (81 off 87 balls) to give India a much-needed 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

“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,” Khawaja was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

Dhoni finished off the game by hitting a four, adding yet another instance to his long list of ending matches with big shots. “It doesn’t always come off but the majority of times it does. He does that really well, that’s experience.” Dhoni, who will play his fourth World Cup this year, averages over 100 in successful run chases for India.

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