x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dhoni thanks his good cricketing sense after tense tri-series final over Sri Lanka

Captain had helped team win by one wicket in tense finish for the tri-nation series title.

MS Dhoni used a heavy bat towards the end of the final. Jewel Samad / AFP
MS Dhoni used a heavy bat towards the end of the final. Jewel Samad / AFP

India were desperate to get MS Dhoni back from a hamstring injury in time for Thursday's tri-nations final and the captain once proved again why he is so highly-valued as he delivered the winning runs against Sri Lanka.

Not only did Dhoni land the Celkon Trophy he did it in some style, knocking off the required 15 runs in the final over of a nerve-racking finish to a low-scoring game and with last man Ishant Sharma for company.

Dhoni said he always backed his instincts to come good even though it looked like Sri Lanka would finally manage come up on the winning side having lost several key games against India, including the 2011 World Cup and Champions Trophy finals.

"I think I am blessed with good cricketing sense," Dhoni said. "I knew I could get 15 runs off the last over, I'm happy that it worked.

"The opposition bowler [Shaminda Eranga] was not the most experienced in that last over unlike [Lasith] Malinga, so I thought I would take my chances."

Chasing 202 on a deteriorating pitch, India were down to their last pair with Ishant surviving some nervous moments as they managed only two runs in the penultimate over.

However, Sri Lanka ran out of their best bowlers, including Malinga, and Dhoni whacked Eranga for a six, four and a six to give India a seventh win over Sri Lanka in nine matches. Dhoni also confirmed there was a bit of thought behind his match-winning knock of 45 as he timed his innings with two changes to his bat.

"I went with a heavy bat, the weight was perfect for slogging," the man-of-the-match said.

The Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, who was later banned by the ICC for two ODIs for a slow over rate, paid tribute to Dhoni.

"[Spinner Rangana] Herath bowled really well to bring us back into the game, but Dhoni is always a dangerous batsman," Mathews said. "We didn't win, but the players showed a lot of character."

Virat Kohli stood in for Dhoni as captain during the series and Dhoni was all praise for his teammate's leadership skills.

"Virat did a tremendous job with a young side. Now he will be leading the team to Zimbabwe where it will be a good exposure for the new set of bowlers who are not as experienced as the current crop.

"If they do well, our bench strength will only increase," Dhoni told reporters.

* Agencies