On Sunday, India edged Australia by four wickets in a last-over thriller at the Adelaide Oval. Could India have won much before than taking the game into the final over? Well, opener Gautam Gambhir thought so.
Also read: Dhoni's 'very special six' wins it for India
The left-handed opener, who top scored in the chase of 270 with a 92, felt India should have finished the game in the 48th over. So when he said this in the post-match press conference, was he blaming captain MS Dhoni for playing too slow in the early part of his innings and creating unwanted tension among players and fans?. That might be the case.
"We should have finished this game in the 48th over. We shouldn't have taken the game to the 50th over, that's my personal observation. I know it's always easier to talk when you are in the dressing room, and it's always tough in the middle, but my personal observation is we shouldn't have let this game go into the last over. Obviously when you put yourself in that situation, someone has to pick his hand up and say, 'I want to finish this game'. It shouldn't have gone into the last over," said Man-of-the-match Gambhir on Sunday night in Adelaide.
His observations are right. Dhoni, when he started his innings was too slow and that too in the batting powerplay between the 36th and 40th over. Dhoni took 16 balls for his two runs. Then it was 10 off 28. But later made up. What if his calculations had gone wrong?
This time it did work, but if he had decided to seal the fate of the match much earlier, the captain had the ability to do so. Of course, he is one of the best finishers of the One Day game.
Dhoni ended unbeaten on 44 off 58 balls with a lone six, the only boundary shot which came in the last over off Clint McKay.
Gambhir added: "I know it's easier said than done. It's always different. The pressure on players in the middle is far more. It's they who have to take that decision. It's their game plan. I don't know what was going through MS's mind, but maybe he wanted to delay it, maybe he wanted someone else to take that responsibility. Cometh the hour, I think the most important shot of the match was made by him. Six balls, 13 runs, with the kind of shot he played, he has done a fantastic job, he has always been a finisher, but that's his game plan. He wants to delay it.
"Someone like me, if I was there, I wouldn't have taken it to the last over, because I always feel that any runs in the last over is far more pressure than finishing one or two overs before. Even if you need five or six runs in the last over, the pressure is far more on the batting side. We are different human beings, we think differently, we have different gameplans."
In the same press conference, Gambhir backed India's rotation policy which saw Sachin Tendulkar being given rest for the Adelaide match.
"To be honest, any 11, for me this is the best 11 too. For me, the best XI is if 11 players have the belief they can beat any opposition on the park. And this playing XI had the belief that they could beat Australia in Australia and in this ODI. For me, one or two individuals don't make a difference. It's about 11 people who have the belief that they can beat any opposition on that given day."
He added the team was not about names and they played the best 11.
"This 11 had that belief that we can beat Australia today. For me this was the best playing 11. It's not about names, it's about people who can go out there and have that belief from No. 1 to No. 11. If they have the belief that 'yes, we can win this game', that's the best playing XI. You don't want names, you want people who can deliver. We have shown it, I think."