MS Dhoni has found support from an unlikely source after receiving a bit of stick for farming the strike and refusing to take singles during India's innings in the opening match of the two-T20I series on Sunday. India suffered a batting collapse, losing five wickets for just 29 runs to be 109 for seven with 19 balls remaining. Dhoni watched from one end as wickets fell and took it upon himself to bring India back on track by taking strike to as many balls as possible. However, Dhoni failed to really get going and up scoring 29 not out off 37 balls at a poor strike-rate of 78.38.
Speaking in defence of Dhoni's knock, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said it was a difficult wicket to bat on.
It (farming the strike) was probably fair enough with the way the wicket was - being difficult to score for any batter, let alone a guy who is not known for his power-hitting in Chahal," Maxwell said.
In the final three overs, Dhoni refused singles on eight occasions with India scoring just 17 runs in that period. In his 37-ball knock, Dhoni had just one boundary -- a six off the bowling of pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile.
"MS is obviously a world-class finisher and even he was finding it hard to hit the middle of the bat."
"So, I think it was right of him to try and farm the strike. He hit a six in the last over and I think that's the sign - he hit one six and they only got seven of the over. Shows you how difficult it is. If you hold MS to one boundary in the last few overs, it's a pretty big effort," Maxwell added.
Barring a half-century from KL Rahul, no batsman could make a meaningful contribution which saw India being restricted to 126 for seven after being put into bat.
Chasing a target of 127, Australia were cruising before Jasprit Bumrah's (3/16 in 4 overs) brilliant 19th over nearly won the game for India.
However, Pat Cummins came to Australia's rescue with a 3-ball 7-run cameo that got the visitors across the line on the final ball.
Australia won by three wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series.