MS Dhoni was stoic in defeat after Chennai Super Kings went down to Mumbai Indians by 6 wickets in Qualifier 1 of the 2019 Indian Premier League in Chennai on Tuesday. On a pitch which turned, CSK managed only 131 for 4 off 20 overs and MI romped home with 9 balls to spare.
For most of the 2019 IPL, MS Dhoni has taken charge to hide a lot of CSK’s batting flaws. Shane Watson has been out of form while the likes of Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav have not delivered the way CSK would have wanted them to. Last year, MS Dhoni it 455 runs in a championship-winning effort.
In 2019, MS Dhoni has scored 405 runs including 3 fifties. He is one of only 2 CSK batsmen in the top 20 this season – Suresh Raina with 364 runs, is 19th in the list of the leading run scorers while Dhoni is 12th.
Faf du Plessis with 320 runs from 10 matches is the next best after Suresh Raina. That explains the batting woes of the Chennai Super Kings. On Tuesday, faced against a top quality bowling attack, CSK lost their top three – Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina and Shane Watson – inside the powerplay and then found it impossible to pick up momentum even as MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu tried hard.
MS Dhoni, after the defeat, urged his batsmen to pull up their socks.
“I think the batting needs to get better,” Dhoni told Star Sports. “These are the best batsmen we have got, it looks like we are batting well, but at times, but in different games, they pull off shots that shouldn’t be played.
“These are the players who we have banked on, they have the experience and they should know to assess the conditions better, hopefully, we will do well in the next game,” he said.
Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) May 7, 2019
Chennai Super Kings will get another shot at the title clash – they will face the winner of the Eliminator between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 on Friday. MS Dhoni thanked his lucky stars at the second chance because CSK like last year finished in the top two.
“It isn’t good to lose games at such times, but it is good that we finished in the top-two, rather than going over the wicket, we now need to go round the wicket (throuugh Qualifier 2). That means the journey takes a longer time. But luckily, we finished in the top-two and that gives us a second chance,” Dhoni told the host broadcaster after the defeat to Mumbai Indians.
Chennai Super Kings have the experience of making it to the final. They have reached the title clash 7 times and won the IPL 3 times. In 2018, they won their third title despite the presence of a fair number of players who were aged over 30. This year the same players have once again stood up as Chennai Super Kings hope to make their second chance count and face Mumbai Indians for the 4th time this season.
Like always, MS Dhoni was measured in his words despite a poor batting performance from his team. He led from the front with an unbeaten 37 and Ambati Rayudu scored 42 not out but there was not much else from the others barring Murali Vijay’s 26. Dhoni felt his men should have assessed the conditions better especially since they were playing at home.
“Somebody has to lose, things really didn’t go our way, especially batting. At home, we had to assess the conditions quickly, we have played 6 to 7 games on this pitch and should have read the pitch better, that’s the home advantage.
“We needed to know how the pitch behaves. Will it be tacky? Is the ball coming on (to the bat) or not?. Those were the things we didn’t do well,” Dhoni said.