A billion Indians were holding their breath as all hopes were on Mahendra Singh Dhoni to take India through to the final of the ICC World Cup 2019. India needed 31 runs off the last two overs to beat New Zealand. MS Dhoni was on strike and hit the first ball of the 48th over for a maximum. India started believing. They felt Dhoni could do it. The next ball was a dot ball. Pressure piled on him. During the third ball, all hell broke loose for India.
Dhoni hit the ball towards Martin Guptill and backed himself to take two runs. But some fantastic fielding by Guptill ensured that Dhoni couldn’t take the second run successfully. Guptill’s fantastic throw hit the stumps and with that came the end of India’s fantastic run at the World Cup.
Dhoni himself was stunned at this dismissal and walked towards the pavilion dejected and with the feeling that he let down an entire nation. He still feels the pain of that loss. Talking to India Today’s Boria Majumdar, Dhoni said, “I keep telling myself, why didn’t I dive. Those two inches I keep telling myself, ‘MS Dhoni, you should have dived.”
After the defeat, Dhoni hasn’t played a game for India and his future has been a subject of intense speculation. In a recent interview, head coach Ravi Shastri said Dhoni may soon end his ODI career but could be in contention for a T20 World Cup berth provided he is in good form.
On Saturday, Sunil Gavaskar questioned M S Dhoni's sabbatical from the game since the World Cup semifinal loss in July, asking "does anybody keep himself away from playing for India for that long?"