Jimmy Neesham, a senior all-rounder for New Zealand, was astounded by MS Dhoni’s enormous fan base despite the superstar having long since retired from international cricket. Dhoni attended the inaugural Twenty20 International between India and New Zealand on January 27 at the Ranchi JSCA International Stadium Complex as a special guest.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his better half Sakshi were invited to the event, and when the cameras focused on them, Dhoni complied by waving to the fervent audience cheering on their hometown hero from the stands. A day before the game, the captain of the team who won the 2011 World Cup spoke with the Indian side’s players.
Neesham said on the Star Sports post-match show, “It’s a great feeling. You sort of feel, you can fly under the radar. No one is there to watch you bat or bowl. Everyone is there to watch someone else. I always quite enjoyed it, to be honest, coming to India knowing that the pressure will be on someone else.”
India lost by 21 runs that night, which was unfortunate for Dhoni and his team because the players failed to live up to the expectation. Even though they were chasing a modest total of 177 runs, the Indian batsmen had a disappointing performance.
The 20th over, which also ended up being the turning point of the match as the BlackCaps scored a challenging total of 176/6, saw the Indian bowlers, who had kept things tight for the entirety of the first innings, drop their guard.
Arshdeep Singh, a left-arm bowler, bowled a final over for 27 runs in which he let three consecutive sixes and a front-foot no-ball. Indian hopes were somewhat rekindled by the brave 28-ball 50 from Washington Sundar and the top-ranked T20I hitter Suryakumar Yadav (47). But with no assistance from the opposite side, their efforts were in vain.