In the run-up to Wednesday’s Wankhede thriller, there was a sense of deja vu among Team India fans. From cricket aficionados to pundits and experts and watchers, almost everyone drew parallels between the 2019 World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand which spelt heartbreak for the Indian side.
Ravi Shastri, too, was one who went down memory lane. Rewinding to India’s chase of 240 before a heartbreaking 18-run defeat at the hands of Kiwis, the former cricketer-coach did a flashback of the dressing room atmosphere and what the players endured, including MS Dhoni who broke down. Dhoni’s run-out by Martin Guptill crashed India’s World Cup journey, struck a hard blow despite India finishing top of the table.
“I was in that dressing room and I know. Like this year, they finished on top of the table that time as well after the round-robin. And even the great man shed a tear, MS Dhoni. He locked himself away but you knew what was going through his mind. So when you play that well and you stumble in the knockout stage, it does hurt,” Shastri said, in an interaction with Star Sports ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final at Wankhede.
“But they would have learnt from that mistake. They were 4 years wiser; there are 7-8 players still playing from that squad in this year’s semifinal and I think it will be better from that experience,” he added.
And better it certainly was, as the hosts managed to redeem themselves for the 2019 loss and humiliation. On Wednesday evening, Wankhede, and the rest of India erupted after Rohit Sharma guided the team to a victory of 70 runs, with Mohammed Shami bagging 7 wickets and being declared the Man of the Match. Fans on social media dubbed the game as “Shami-final” as a mark of celebration of the bowler’s heroics.
The 2019 defeat brought Dhoni’s illustrious international career to a close.
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