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'He has been doing the job for the team' – Bangar defends Dhoni's conservative batting approach
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'He has been doing the job for the team' – Bangar defends Dhoni's conservative batting approach

The Indian team management defended M.S. Dhoni in the face of harsh criticism directed towards the wicketkeeper-batsman for his conservative batting approach near the end of his side's ill-fated chase against England on Sunday.

India's batting pair of Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav played extremely slow in the last five overs of the team's chase especially when they required a steep task of 71 runs in the final 30 deliveries in pursuit of the target of 338.

A visible lack of intent was adjudged from the pair's efforts as they rarely opted for the aerial route and instead nudged the ball around for singles and doubles with India finishing their 50 overs at 306-5 while Dhoni remained unbeaten on 42 off 31 balls.

Jadhav and Dhoni attracted the wrath of social media and cricket pundits alike, with experts terming their chasing approach "baffling".

Assistant coach Sanjay Bangar, however, was surprised with the negative coverage of the veteran Dhoni's actions and felt the criticism to be needless considering he had been consistently "doing the job for the team".

"Except for one odd innings, he has done the role always. Five out of seven games he has done the job for the team," said Bangar.

"If you see the earlier games, against South Africa he stitched together a partnership of 70 (the partnership was 74) with Rohit (Sharma). After that, what was required of him against Australia he did that.

"In Manchester on a difficult track (against West Indies) he got a vital fifty for us. Here also he was striking the ball really well. I'm surprised that this question continues to come up every now and then."

Once regarded as one of world cricket's greatest finishers, Dhoni's prowess with the bat has gradually declined as he is finding it hard to middle the ball as frequently now.

He faced backlash earlier in the tournament his sedate 28 off 52 deliveries against Afghanistan right when India required an accelerating knock from its senior player.

'England bowled tactfully in the death overs'

Bangar believed India's struggles in the death overs were mainly due to England's perfect execution of their bowling plans.

"If you look at the way they bowled towards the end, they used the dimensions really well and created difficult angles for our batters to hit," said Bangar.

"In those large boundaries and with the type of balls they were bowling -- slower bouncers, a lot of into-the-wicket deliveries, slower balls, I just felt maybe last one or two overs, the difference between runs required and balls left were a bit too much."

Also Read: Sharma admits his side can learn plenty of lessons from England's bowlers

Young batsman Rishabh Pant played an entertaining cameo in his debut World Cup match coming into bat at number four and Bangar hinted the left-handed batsman would retain his place in the playing XI for Tuesday's match against Bangladesh.

Pant joined the Indian squad in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, who suffered an injury to his thumb during the game against Australia.

Although India's unbeaten streak has finally come to an end in this tournament, they require just one win in the remaining two games to ensure a spot in the semi-finals.