Renowned expert Sanjay Manjrekar reckoned that Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia, who combinedly finished with figures of 2/32 off their 8 overs, were allowed to slip in their overs cheaply by Dhoni and Jadeja. In a flabbergasting middle-over phase, CSK scored a meagre 46 runs in nine overs.
A positive batting display versus Delhi Capitals in Sharjah from Chennai Super Kings turned out to be a false dawn as on Monday in Abu Dhabi, the Men in Yellow dished out their worst batting performance of the season. Winning the toss and batting first, CSK posted the lowest first innings total of the season, 125/5, and went through the motions in their innings which had little intent.
While the top order started off with intent, it was buried by MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja in the middle who, on the back of Rayudu and Curran’s dismissals, blocked their way through the middle overs, taking just 46 runs between overs 6 and 15. In fact, the duo’s innocuous display meant that Rajasthan’s leg-spinners, Rahul Tewatia and Shreyas Gopal, slipped in their 8 overs for just 32 runs.
Reviewing the match, Sanjay Manjrekar lauded the character of the RR leggies but insisted that they were ‘allowed’ to bowl economically by Dhoni and Jadeja who, according to him, were intentless.
“(They bowled economically) thanks to the two batsmen who faced them right through. They bowled well - Tewatia has this confidence now, Gopal is a temperamentally tough character - but there was absolutely no risk taken by Dhoni and Jadeja. It was more a case of the batsmen allowing the spinners to complete their 8 overs, as they were looking for the long haul, the big finish that a lot of teams are trying to find,” Manjrekar said in ESPNCricinfo’s ‘T20 Time Out’.
But while Manjrekar was critical of the CSK batters, he expressed his admiration for the duo of Steve Smith and Jos Buttler, who played fine knocks to take RR over the line. At 28/3 chasing 126, RR were in deep waters, but Smith and Buttler stitched an unbeaten 98-run stand to take the team home. Manjrekar heaped praise on the two stalwarts.
“This strong mind of Steve Smith is what makes him a great. He ensured that there was no Royal mess from Rajasthan in the run-chase, and Buttler is a class act. A terrific innings in unfamiliar territory.”
IPL 2020 has been a harsh reality check for the Super Kings, who with an ageing side have looked out of sync with the rest of the competition. Manjrekar reckoned that CSK might be paying the price for stretching their ‘old team’ tactic one year too far.
“I remember saying prior to the tournament that it could be another playoff position for CSK or it could be the worst season ever for them in the IPL. Because they were again taking the big risk of playing players well past their prime. I felt CSK might have stretched their ageing tactic a year too long. If they don’t make the playoffs, it would have been the case of CSK stretching their tactic one year too far.”