After the Indian top order collapsed against New Zealand in the World Cup semifinal at the Old Trafford on Wednesday, Ravindra Jadeja and Mahendra Singh Dhoni who kept their side in hunt as India chased 240 runs for victory.
Soon after Jadeja (77) fell after adding 116 runs for the seventh wicket with Dhoni (50), the former India skipper was caught short of his crease by Martin Guptill with a brilliant direct hit in the penultimate over of the match. India eventually went down by 18 runs to crash out of the World Cup.
However, a video has emerged on Twitter which has sparked a debate over the legality of the delivery in which Dhoni fell. As per ICC rules, in the third Powerplay, only five fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle. But before the ball was delivered in which Dhoni was dismissed, a small graphic in the video showed that six players were outside the ring, leading to widespread reactions by fans.
While it doesn't matter if it is a no-ball in case of a run out, the fans felt that had the umpire called it an illegal delivery, Dhoni wouldn't have had gone for quick runs as the next delivery would have been a free-hit.
Criticising the umpiring standards, a fan tweeted: "What great Umpiring Skills....The Ball Msd became runout should be given as NoBall...& Dhoni should have played and India have Won....What A Great WC? What a great exhibition of Umpiring skills????"
"Just before MSD got Run-out, six fielders were outside the circle. Don't know whether it is umpiring fault or GPS error BTW, it was still a runout," another fan wrote.
"Didn't know about it, only that it would have involved No ball, and that in No ball, batsman can be out run out. It means team India also did not take note of this rule, who knows under the disappointment of dhoni's runout, they never raised issue. It amount to to bad umpiring," tweeted another fan.
India committed a "tactical blunder" by dropping MS Dhoni to number seven in the batting order, said former stalwarts Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, who were baffled by the move in the World Cup semifinal against New Zealand.
Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik were sent ahead of Dhoni when India were positioned precariously at five for three and later 24 for four.
Eventually, it became a too tough a task to complete as India fell short by 18 runs.
"Dhoni should have come ahead of Pandya. It was a tactical blunder. Dhoni should have walked ahead of Dinesh Karthik. Stage was set for Dhoni. In 2015 final also, he promoted himself up to bat at number four ahead of Yuvraj Singh and won the World Cup," rued Laxman.
Former skipper Ganguly said it's not just about Dhoni's batting but his calming effect on the young batsmen, batting from the other end.
Rishabh Pant was set but threw away his wicket when he attacked spinner Mitchell Santener. Skipper Virat Kohli was seen having an animated chat with coach Ravi Shatsri immediately after Pant's dismissal.
"India needed experience at that stage. If Dhoni was there when Pant was batting, he would not have allowed Pant to play that shot against the breeze. In England, it's a big factor. He would have told him to go after pacer, when mid-off and mid-on is up, because he is good at that.
"Dhoni should have batted up. You need that composure and not just his batting. He would not have allowed wickets to fall in cluster. Dhoni was there when Jadeja batted. Communication is strength. You can't have Dhoni at number seven," Ganguly told official broadcaster Star Sports." "As a finisher, he still has tremendous respect. He can still clear the field and that's why he left it for last. It's not that he can't hit sixes but he thinks that's the way to win ODI matches," he added.
Iconic batsmen Sachin Tendulkar too felt skipper Virat Kohli made a mistake by not promoting Dhoni up the order.
"The question here can be, in a crunch moment like this, would you not think of promoting Dhoni with experience on his back? Towards the end he kept talking to (Ravindra) Jadeja and he was controlling things.
"May be instead of Hardik, Dhoni should have come up. Batting Dinesh Karthik at number 5 was slightly out of the box I felt," he said.
Ganguly said the the biggest mistake Indian selectors made in the last one and a half years was not finding a solid middle order.
"The one criticism (for selectors) is that they fiddled around the middle order." "You can't always depend on Rohit and Virat," said Laxman.
Looking forward, Ganguly said,"What India need to do is to push Rishabh Pant to number five. Kohli can bat at number four, if KL Rahul is solution at number three when Shikhar Dhawan comes back. India will have to identify the middle order batsmen and persist with them." "That's the only mistake selectors made. You can't depend on Jadeja (to win matches by leaving it for lower order).
With IANS and PTI inputs