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29 November 2023

Dhoni takes blames for India's collapse, upbeat for T20 series

John Hastings of Australia celebrates with team mates after taking the wicket of MS Dhoni of India during the Victoria Bitter One Day International match between Australia and India at Manuka Oval on January 20, 2016 in Canberra, Australia. (Getty)

By Agencies

Under fire Indian limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has for once taken blame for their spectacular collapse in the fourth ODI on Wednesday which handed Australia a 25-run victory.

Chasing a record target of 349 in Canberra, the men in blue were in cruise control thanks to a double century partnership between opener Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli.

The Indians looked well on target when Dhawan (126) and Kohli (106) put on 212 for the second wicket to reach 277 for one in the 38th overe, smashing the attack all over Manuka Oval.

But once Dhawan fell cutting John Hastings to George Bailey at point, the match turned on its head and the Australians began to assert control.

India lost their next five wickets for 17 and their last nine for 46 to be bundled out for 323, handing the hosts their fourth straight win in the series.

Dhoni said it was his wicket that proved to be the turning point of the game.

Dhoni fell for a duck having walked in at the fall of Dhawan's wicket since Ajinkya Rahane suffered a split webbing in his right hand while fielding in the Australian innings.

"I think it was my wicket," Dhoni said after their defeat. "If you see, specifically, that's what my role is in the team to make sure we finish off the game well from that kind of position. So I would say my wicket really was the turning point. Because, according to the role and responsibility everybody has, that specifically is my role."

Dhoni's leadership will come under scrutiny despite the backing of India's cricket board (BCCI) after this latest debacle.

The magic of India's Captain Cool has been waning with speculation rife about the future of the 34-year-old ever since he quits Tests in 2014.

Under him, India lost their first ODI series in Bangladesh in June last year and went down to a visiting South African team in October.

On Sunday, Dhoni's men succumbed to their third successive defeat in Australia who took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, chasing down big totals in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Dhoni himself felt more than his captaincy, the team needed to look at the grey areas and how to fix them.

"It's not about the leader. I'm there (now), somebody else will come later," the stumper-batsman said after the loss in Melbourne.

Dhoni wished to take positives for the T20 series after bouncing back despite being taken to the cleaners by the Australian batsmen.

"After the first three losses, people were saying it was difficult to come back, but in this game we batted really well. It also gave a glimpse of what you may see in the T20Is, a lot of flamboyant cricket. At the same time you may say, yes we lost, are we disappointed? We are definitely disappointed, but still, you want to take the positives," he said.