Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at his candid best after leading Chennai Super Kings to a 45-run win over Rajasthan Royals in his 200th match as skipper of the side. Dhoni rued a slow start to his innings, spoke about batting returns at 40 and stressed the importance of staying fit to compete with the younger lot in the Indian Premier League.
MS Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings had a near-perfect game as they hammered Rajasthan Royals after defending 188 in Match 12 of IPL 2021 at the Wankhede Stadium on 19 April. Cameos from their experienced batsmen and a fine spin-bowling display from Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja made sure CSK defended 188 runs with ease and win their first-ever match in Wankhede when defending a total.
However, there were some concerns over MS Dhoni’s approach in the middle over. The CSK captain walked into bat at No. 7 when CSK were scoring at close to 9 runs per over. Dhoni took 6 balls to get off the mark and finished with a 17-ball 18 that slowed them down in the middle overs. After getting out for 0 in his first outing in IPL 2021, Dhoni struggled to find rhythm despite hitting two boundaries on Monday.
Speaking at the post-match ceremony after CSK’s emphatic win, MS Dhoni conceded that his slow start could have cost CSK on another night but insisted that performances can’t always be guaranteed.
“I thought we could have got more. The first six balls I played could have cost us in another game,” Dhoni said.
“It’s true but when you’re playing, you don’t really want anyone to say he’s unfit. Performance is something that is not guaranteed.. I was not guaranteeing performances when I was 24, can’t guarantee when I am 40.
“At least, if people can’t point fingers at me, saying he’s unfit, that will be a big positive for me. I have to keep up with the younger guys, They run a lot, they are very fast, it’s good to challenge them,” he said.
CSK captain MS Dhoni though marshalled his troops well as CSK showed signs of their vintage best with spinners dominating proceedings. Helping raise a few eyebrows, there wasn’t a lot of dew at the Wankhede when CSK were defending 188.
After Sam Curran got captain Sanju Samson and Manan Vohra in the powerplay, Jos Buttler was keeping the Royals alive in the chase with a big-hitting display. However, Ravindra Jadeja got the big wicket for 49 with a ball that squared up Buttler.
Royals imploded following Buttler’s exit as Jadeja and Moeen Ali spun a web around the middle-order. RR went from 87 for 2 to 95 for 7 in a span of less than 4 overs.
“It was spinning a bit, I don’t really mind Jos playing the reverse where it’s turning a bit. It’s important to have that sixth bowler, it always helps and it was stopping a bit for spinners. There was slightly less dew than usual. Glad we scored 188,” he added.
Having won 2 on the bounce, CSK will be a confident unit when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders in their penultimate match of the season in Mumbai on 21 April.