IPL 2021: “My innings was a crucial one,” says MS Dhoni after his match-winning cameo

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni finished a successful run chase against Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 1 to secure a spot in IPL 2021 final. Dhoni, who was out of form this season, scored unbeaten 18 runs in six deliveries which included 3 fours and a six.

Chasing 173 for victory, CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (70) and Robin Uthappa (63) gave them a good platform. Eventually, it was Dhoni who scored the crucial runs in the last two overs after coming above Ravindra Jadeja to bat.

“My innings was a crucial one. Delhi has a very good bowling attack. They exploited the conditions well, so we knew it would be tough. I’ve not done a lot in the tournament, so wanted to look for the ball and see what the bowler can do,” said Dhoni during the post-match presentation.

CSK needed 19 runs off 9 deliveries and Dhoni scored 18 of them with one wide in the final over by Tom Curran. The CSK captain said he was batting well in the net sessions and wanted to not mess up his plans by thinking too much while batting.

“I was batting well in the nets. But wasn’t thinking too much, if you think too much while batting then you mess your plans up,” he added.

Dhoni threw a surprise in Qualifier 1 by sending Shardul Thakur up in the batting order. He said they had given Shardul the license to go from ball one. He said, “Shardul has done decent batting, as has Deepak. He/they are allowed to go for the shots from the first ball, unlike other top-order batters.”

Speaking on Uthappa’s promotion in the batting order at number 3, Dhoni said the veteran batter is someone who likes to bat up in the order like Moeen Ali.

“Robin enjoys batting at the top but Moeen has been excellent at No. 3. But we have created a situation where either of them could bat at No. 3 depending on the situation and the opposition,” said Dhoni.

“Whenever Ruturaj and I have a chat, it’s a simple chat. Want to know what he was thinking. It’s good to see how well he has improved. He is someone willing to bat 20 overs,” he added.

Dhoni said they made use of the last 3-4 matches in IPL 2020 to set up a comeback. “Last season was the first time we didn’t qualify into playoffs. But we wanted to just make use of the 3-4 games left last season, and a lot of our batters made use of that. That is the reason why we have come back strongly this season,” he said.