MS Dhoni: As Chennai Super Kings walked away with the bragging rights in the 2020 IPL opener that saw them besting Mumbai in a closely-contested encounter, Faf Du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu hurt the defending champions the most.
James Pattinson and Trent Boult gave a couple of early jolts to Chennai chasing a modest total on the board that seemed like it can be an incredible contest. However, Du Plessis and Rayudu stitched a brilliant partnership that saw them sailing through until a convenient stage before Rayudu fell victim to Rahul Chahar.
With a good deal of job still to be done, startling everyone, Ravindra Jadeja walked out in the middle and slaughtered the bowlers before he got out for a 5-ball-10. Up next was Sam Curran who smoked Krunal Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah to garner 18 runs from 6 balls before the Indian fast bowler removed him. These two breezy cameos helped Chennai get closer to the finishing line which was finally settled by Faf Du Plessis with two boundaries on the trot in the final over.
The most obvious question here was that why did the former Indian captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is a certified finisher chose not to come out. After volumes of speculations, the Chennai captain broke his vow of silence as he said that this entire ploy was to intimidate the Mumbai bowlers.
It’s all about the method for MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni cited, “One thing we haven’t done is… people keep saying if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same result. I don’t think we’re disappointed with the result but at some point in time I feel we need to give Jadeja and somebody like Sam a chance to go up the order and express themselves.”
MS Dhoni also said, “This was an ideal scenario because if you look at their bowling, you have two overs of spinners with one leg spinner (Rahul Chahar) and a left arm (Krunal Pandya). It was an ideal way of saying we are going to intimidate the bowler by saying okay he has been sent to do one thing – swing. Doesn’t mean he’ll hit everything but it was a psychological thing of saying that okay, we have batsmen and we bat deep, so we’ll send one or two of them up to hit a few.”
He continued, “Overall how we played after a very long time… we may practice enough but still, when you go on the field you need to assess the conditions and give it your best. Initially, we took the time for the bowlers to find the right length on this wicket. If it wasn’t swinging we had to pull our length back and that took some time. Mumbai Indians batsmen got off to a good start, especially de Kock.”
MS Dhoni also prasied Ambati Rayudu
However, he highlighted the concerns, quoting, “Overall plenty of positives but still a lot of areas for us to improve. Especially if the timings are the same, a lot of teams will realize that in the second half there is a bit of movement till the ball gets wet and dew sets in. If you don’t lose wickets early, once dew sets in, you have the upper hand. These are the learnings. Of course, Rayudu was brilliant and had a wonderful partnership with Faf. Most of us are retired so luckily no injuries as well. Overall very happy, it can get better especially the adaptivity.”
MS Dhoni simply refused to stop as he stated further, “The experience pays off, everyone talks about it. You don’t get it without play a lot of games. 300 ODIs is a dream for anybody to play now with only 3 ODIs per series. When you put an XI on the field, you need a good mix of youngsters and experienced players. You need the experienced players to guide the youngsters depending on the strength of the individuals. The young players get 60-70 days with the senior players from all countries in the IPL.”
He concluded on a thank you note, saying, “It is an amazing job done by the IPL, especially ones behind the scenes. To make it happen there are a hundred different things; as cricketers we easily criticize stuff. To have the practice facilities like these at the ICC academy were fantastic. Unless you get practice facilities you won’t play well in a tournament like this.”