MS Dhoni played one of the great IPL knocks to keep intact Chennai Super Kings’ winning streak but he spoke more about Imran Tahir’s control in the dew than his own brilliance. On Sunday, CSK beat Royals by 8 runs to move back to the top of the 2019 Indian Premier League points table. | Report | Highlights |
CSK were in early trouble but MS Dhoni (75 not out), Suresh Raina (32) and Dwayne Bravo (27) kept the team on track for a strong total. The opening game of the 2019 IPL between CSK and Royal Challengers Bangalore was played at the Chepauk as well but both Dhoni and Virat Kohli were critical of the pitch after the spinners held sway.
On Sunday, pacers from both teams did well and there were plenty of big hits from Dhoni, Bravo, Rahul Tripathi and Ben Stokes. It was a much better pitch but the dew made life difficult for the spinners.
But Tahir bowled beautifully and snared Tripathi and Smith in his first three overs to derail the Royals chase. Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer tried hard but Dwayne Bravo defended 12 in the final over to deny them.
Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner were expensive and it was clear they were struggling with the dew. Tahir came to Dhoni’s rescue and the CSK skipper lauded his 40-year-old leg-spinner for a job well done.
“Jadeja and Santner found it hard to grip the ball and it was difficult to manage them. We were able to rotate, and the leg-spinner (Imran Tahir) bowled really well.
“To be a wrist-spinner and bowl that way with the dew is very impressive,” Dhoni told the broadcasters at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 31, 2019
Imran Tahir now has the Purple Cap with 6 wickets from 3 matches in the 2019 IPL.
CSK made a surprise change when they included Mitchell Santner in place of the experienced Harbhajan Singh who has had a good tournament so far. Dhoni said the number of right-handers in the RR line-up necessiated that change.
“We have a stable XI and there were a lot less left-handers in the opposition, so we gave Mitch Santner a go. It isn’t that important to make changes if not necessary. As the tournament progresses everyone will get more chances for some reason or the other,” Dhoni said.