Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Battling for my life? I'd pick Dhoni and Williamson without a doubt

Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

"Who would you pick to bat for your life?" is a question, albeit slightly macabre, often raised in cricket circles.

Last night's evidence again made it a clear choice when it comes to this one-day series between India and New Zealand:

For India? Mahendra Singh Dhoni. For New Zealand? Kane Williamson.

Those seeking a short but entertaining life might go for Rohit Sharma or Jesse Ryder, but that's the nature of their batting roles.

Sharma was lucky not to be caught by Ross Taylor on 14 last night to a regulation slip catch - he eventually made 74, the first time he's passed 50 in eight ODI innings.

Ryder played too close to himself and was bowled for 19 - the seventh time in 10 ODI or T20I innings he's been out between 17 and 23.

No, go for Dhoni and Williamson if you value longevity. Despite being under pressure in three chases - and tasked with setting a total last night - Dhoni has produced every time for 40, 56, 50 and 79 not out.

Dice that another way. He's scored 225 runs off 223 balls to average 75 and hasn't been out for less than 20 in his past 12 innings. He believes.

An unbeaten stand of 127 for sixth wicket Ravindra Jadeja brought the visitors back into the contest. He grasped the slower wicket pace better than most and timed shots better as a consequence. Dhoni's bat has a natural affinity towards any grass-stained sphere of white. It's hard to argue with 7999 ODI runs at 53.32.

Likewise Williamson, New Zealand's invisible hero, has hummed this series. His fourth consecutive half-century of the series gave the hosts faith progressing towards the target.

It was the 13th time he had passed 50 in 48 ODI innings. Williamson has scored 71, 77, 65 and 60 using strokes rather than slogs at a strike rate of 82 to ensure New Zealand has been competitive.

The 23-year-old has taken NZ past the 32nd over each time, being dismissed at 153 for three, 174 for three, 189 for two and 188 for three respectively. The middle order has had every chance to flourish as a result.

- NZ Herald

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