MS Dhoni smashed a 22-ball-39 in the 1st T20I against Sri Lanka to answer back his critics who were questioning his credentials.
After departure of Rahul, the duo of MS Dhoni and Manish Pandey, after initial hiccups, took India to a satisfactory total of 180 at the loss of three wickets.
Opener Lokesh Rahul, who was not part of the side that beat Sri Lanka 2-1 in the one-day global series, hit 61 off 48 balls to build the platform for India's innings of 180-3 in 20 overs after Sri Lanka had won the toss and opted to field.
"He (Rahul) batted magnificently and we felt that he was hitting the ball well".
However, with dew setting in early, the offspinner found it hard to grip the ball and was carted for a boundary each by the openers in his second over.
The ball went to the boundary and Rahul was down on all fours.
Soon, India crossed 150 run mark in the 19th over.
The two mixed caution with aggression, rotating the strike at every given opportunity to forge a 63-run partnership for the second wicket before a rush of blood saw Iyer edging one to the wicketkeeper off Nuwan Pradeep in the 13th over to depart for 24. Later in the post-match press meet, he also mentioned that Dhoni nearly killed him with that shot. "I see him (Dhoni) as motivated in the dressing room as I always have". The last time we played here, he got a big hundred.
11 runs came from Danajaya's next over with boundary each by Rahul and Sharma as India were going strong for 38 for no loss from 29 balls when Mathews gave the first breakthrough dismissing the Indian skipper. "He's somebody we look up to, he's a match victor and he will always be one".
Rohit said that Dhoni can bat freely at the No.4 position, not taking pressure in finishing the innings.
If ever a compilation of MS Dhoni's sixes is made, the one he had hit in the final of 2011 World Cup to win the title for India would unarguably sit atop of the list. Determined to start the T20I series on a positive note, India opted to entrust the responsibility on the experienced players.