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Raina earns Dhoni praise

Auckland: India’s 15-run loss in the second one-dayer against New Zealand, in Hamilton, could have easily been a victory had the Suresh Raina-Mahendra Singh Dhoni partnership continued for a little longer.

India’s hopes had diminished when Virat Kohli got out in the 30th over of the innings, but the Dhoni-Raina combination was looking equally threatening.

Raina, who scored 35 runs off 22 balls with six fours, was impressively aggressive, although the New Zealand bowlers were attacking him with short-pitched deliveries. But when Raina perished, trying to go for a shot, one wonders if Dhoni was frustrated with the manner of the dismissal.

“Raina is someone who plays aggressive cricket, but it is important to have control over your mind as to what are the areas you want to hit… If it is not there to be hit, what are the other options you have got? You need to see at those things,” Dhoni said while speaking about Raina’s batting.

But Dhoni did not really criticise Raina. Rather, he praised his Chennai Super Kings teammate for picking the bad deliveries well for playing his shots. “Picking the bad deliveries to hit was something he did particularly well in his Hamilton innings,” he said.

Dhoni, however, hopes that Raina would play longer innings in the future. “Hopefully, he will gather plenty of confidence after this innings and carry on longer in this manner,” he said.

When asked that if Raina has proved himself as the No.6 batsman in the ODIs, the captain chose to reserve his opinion. “We have to a see at a few things… We cannot change opinions and strategies after just one game. It was a certain kind of a situation that demanded a particular type of an innings from him. It was good the way he played,” Dhoni said.