Wellington, Nov 16 (SocialNews.XYZ) New Zealand cricketers still shudder at the very thought of what could have happened had they not run out Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 2019 Cricket World Cup semifinal at Manchester.
Dhoni was in sublime form during the tournament but a rocket-like direct hit at the stumps from Martin Guptill dismissed the Indian legend with nine balls remaining in the match.
Dhoni was batting on 50 and a late charge from the charismatic cricketer could well have propelled India into the final. India eventually lost the match by 18 runs with the side dismissed for 221 in 49.3 overs in their chase of 239.
New Zealand went on to play England in the summit clash with Eoin Morgan's side lifting the 50-over World Cup trophy on the boundary count-back rule, having scored 26 boundaries to New Zealand's 17.
With the imperious form Dhoni was in and the way the match was poised at that juncture, Guptill has said it was a huge sigh of relief to see the back of the menacing Dhoni.
In a video released by Amazon Prime ahead of the T20I series between India and New Zealand, Guptill has revealed that moment in time when Dhoni was sent back paved the path for the Black Caps' advancement to the final.
Recalling the run out, Guptill said, "Colin de Grandhomme was there but it had to be a direct hit and I think he (Dhoni) was something like that far short so if it had been taken he would have been safe so it had to be a direct hit. It was one hell of a game."
India had an early scare while chasing down a modest total against the Kiwis but a gritty fight-back from Ravindra Jadeja (77) and Dhoni (50) turned the tide in India's favour and they started going for the big hits. However, as the game was headed to its very end and Dhoni, the finisher, looked set to steer the side across the finish line, Guptill's incisive brilliance halted the charge.
"I think I might have been at mid-off that is usually where I stand. It was clearly quite a pivotal point in the match. Unbelievable run-out from Martin Guptill for a direct hit from that distance. It clearly was a big wicket which certainly gave us a much better chance to get across the line," said New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.
Another stalwart, Tom Latham said, "Where was I? I was meant to be behind the stumps but I was actually chasing after the ball and obviously, Guptill got to it before me so I was sort of hoping that there would be someone at the stump but he managed to hit the stumps so it kind of worked out."
Tim Southee said, "In that fashion was pretty special for Guptill to be able to hit the stumps from so far away. Those who have played against MS (Dhoni) know that as long as he is there anything is possible. As long as he was there, India had a chance so it was a massive moment in the game and probably sort of final piece that had to go away, and to get it that way was pretty special."