Bhuvneshwar Kumar played the innings of his life when he guided India home in the second ODI against Sri Lanka in Pallekele. In the pursuit of 231, the Indian side was struggling at 131/7 when Bhuvneshwar walked out to bat. The experienced MS Dhoni was still at the crease and the pacer revealed that the former skipper asked him to bat in a Test match mode.
“It was a bit surprising for me because we had a great opening start and all of a sudden, we collapsed. It was a panic situation for us. When I went into bat, Dhoni told me to play my natural game, ‘play as if you are playing a Test match.’ He told me not to take any pressure,” said Bhuvneshwar in the press conference after the match.
Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar absorbed the pressure at a crucial juncture of the match when Akila Dananjaya was removing one batsman after the other. His 6 wicket haul left India from 109/0 to 131/7. It was like a pressure cooker out there in the middle but the two calmest men on the field did the job for India
“We knew that if played the entire overs, we will end up winning. There was nothing to lose for us. We were already seven down. And I just went to bat without having any kind of pressure on myself. I just wanted to support MS as much I could. We didn’t plan anything extraordinary. We tried to keep it simple and not let the asking rate go beyond 6-7,” said the 27-year-old.
Bhuvneshwar outscored Dhoni
Not often do we see someone batting with Dhoni during a chase and score more than the wicketkeeper-batsman. Bhuvneshwar Kumar did just that as he scored 53; first fifty of his ODI career where Dhoni made 45. The pacer played an ideal foil for Dhoni as he didn’t let the pressure mount on his partner. He kept turning the strike over and also, went after the bowlers when the required run-rate started creeping up.