Stephen Fleming has defended MS Dhoni statting that the skipper had felt that he had a better chance than Dwayne Bravo to finish the match. Chennai Super Kings had required 36 off the last two overs against Royal Challengers Bangalore, but Dhoni refused to take singles with Bravo on the other end.
Chennai Super Kings did not start well in their pursuit of chasing down Royal Challengers Bangalore’s target of 162, as they lost four wickets within the powerplay itself. Skipper MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo were CSK’s only hope as the equation came down to 36 off the final two overs, with all the other batsmen back to the pavilion. However, in a bizarre move, Dhoni refused to take single thrice to Bravo, who was on the non-striker’s end.
Eventually, the West Indian all-rounder was dismissed in the final ball of the over after the skipper agreed to take a single on the fifth ball. 26 were required of Umesh Yadav’s final over, and the 37-year-old also smashed 24 runs in the first five balls before failing to connect the last ball, which was a slower one. The non-striker, Shardul Thakur, ran for a single but the RCB wicket-keeper had dislodged the bails before he could reach as CSK lost the game by one run.
Head coach Stephen Fleming was still impressed by Dhoni’s heroics, which almost won them the match single-handedly, and justified his move of refusing to give the strike to Bravo.
“Dhoni felt that he was most equipped to hit the sixes. The way he calculates the last few overs based on his power, he would have looked at it saying four five sixes would have won us the game, and as it panned out, it was pretty close. He is so calculated that I would never question the last part of innings to MS Dhoni. Yes, Bravo has got power, but if MS has a feeling that he is going to win this way, then I’ll back him every time. He has done it so many times. Tonight, he got us close again so I’ll never question that,” he said, at the post-match press conference, reported Cricbuzz.
“By looking at the last ball, we are forgetting how he (Dhoni) got us that close. A great option from the bowler and a great play from Patel. It’s that close, 10-12 inches (run out) denied us the game that we probably should have won,” he added.
The CSK top order, barring Faf du Plessis who was included in the playing XI after four matches, has clearly underperformed. Suresh Raina has hit only 207 runs so far with one fifty to his name in ten innings. Shane Watson has been disappointing with as well with a meagre 147 runs in ten matches. Ambati Rayudu has been moved down the order as he looked out of sorts opening the batting, but even that has not worked for the Hyderabad batsman. The coach was clearly disappointed with the top order but also pointed out that the slow track at Chepauk was making it tough for them.
“Top order batting is an area of the game that is not going well. So there will be a lot of focus on how close we got to winning but we won’t cover up the fact that we should have been in a much better position than that. We have got a very talented batting order which has been inconsistent throughout the year. On paper, the side is strong, but unfortunately, we haven’t played well,” explained the 46-year-old.
“We played on Chennai tracks where it is a little difficult to find form and we have just struggled in that. We were reckless today, because the guys were going out there and trying to find form, but we are relying too heavily on Dhoni and Rayudu and we won’t win the competition if that continues. We are no way happy with the way we achieved the seven wins, but we were happy that we crossed the line,” the former New Zealand captain signed off.
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