For an avid follower of Indian cricket, remembering each of India's World Cup clashes with Pakistan isn't a very difficult task. Hence, if the 2015 World Cup is referred to, one would obviously spring up with Virat Kohli's masterful 107 as their response. But only few would remember another crucial knock in that match made by Suresh Raina that helped India in clinching a comfortable victory. Five years since the game, the veteran batsman recalled his knock while revealing a clever change in plan from then skipper MS Dhoni.
Ajinkya Rahane was India's No.4 during the World Cup campaign with Raina at No.5. However, during the World Cup game against Pakistan, Dhoni decided to go with the left-hander in at No.4 despite Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan looking comfortable in the middle. (Also Read | Hope he starts playing again: Rohit, Raina opine on MS Dhoni's future in international cricket)
“I never questioned his decisions. I remember I was having a sandwich or something during our match against Pakistan in World Cup 2015. Suddenly after 20 overs, he said ‘pad-up’. I padded up. Virat was batting really well and this happened just a few overs before Shikhar (Dhawan) got run out. So I got out in the middle, played a few shots and scored 70-80 runs,” said Raina in a YouTube interview.
Raina walked in when India were 162/3 and notched up a 56-ball 74 with five fours and three sixes while also managing a crucial 110-run stand with Kohli. (Also Read | Rohit Sharma's captaincy is very similar to MS Dhoni: Suresh Raina)
Revealing Dhoni's plan, Raina said, “After the match, I asked him why did you sent me up the order? He said, ‘I thought you will play better against the leg-spinner who was bowling at that time’. He also praised me for my batting. So I also want to know what goes on in his mind.”
Well, it was against Yasir Shah that Raina smashed most of his runs leaving the leg-spinner with 60 runs in eight overs.
India eventually finished with 300 on the board after Sohail Khan's fi-fer. But Pakistan were wrapped up for just 227 runs with 18 deliveries remaining.
Praising Dhoni, Raina said, “He was always a step ahead. He used to stand behind the stumps for the entire match, assess the pitch, whether it has turn and swing… He was seldom wrong, I can say he was god gifted. Later when I became the captain of Gujarat Lions in IPL, he told me ‘you can come up to me anytime for suggestions.”