After leading Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to their fifth consecutive win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, MS Dhoni threw light on what went wrong for the three-time champions in the 2020 edition.
For the first time in IPL history, CSK failed to make it to the playoffs in the last edition, which was played in the UAE, and ended up finishing seventh.
MS Dhoni implied an extended lockdown and longer quarantine as some of the reasons for CSK’s dismal show last year. However, he credited the team for taking on more responsibility this year and the bench for being in the right frame of mind.
“The earlier you settle (in the tournament), the better. The other factor was 5-6 months we were out of cricket. Nothing was allowed. It’s not that you could go on your own and practice. That also makes it difficult. Change of quarantine (this year made it better). It was slightly longer (last year). There were a lot of factors. Overall if I have to sum it up, the players have taken more responsibility this year. You will be facing adverse things, but ultimately it boils down to how each individual rises to the occasion and gives the extra 10% for the team."
“Last 8-10 years, we’ve not changed a lot of players, so the players know our approach. Also, we appreciate the players not playing a lot. The only way you can put it forward is by having those nice interactions. Just try to have a frame of mind where if you get the opportunity, you’ll be ready.
“Keeping the dressing room atmosphere healthy is important. It’s not an easy thing. When you’re at the top level, you want to play. Have to give extra credit to the players who’ve not played so far,” said MS Dhoni after CSK’s seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Wednesday.
Surprisingly, a good wicket in Delhi: MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni expressed his surprise with how the wicket played on the night. Historically, the surfaces in Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium have been on the slower side, favouring spin bowlers. However, the curators dished out a good batting wicket and the lack of dew made it even better.
Electing to bat, SRH managed only 171 for three on a placid surface, with David Warner struggling to a 55-ball 57. CSK won the match with nine balls to spare.
The win was again set up by the CSK openers – Ruturaj Gaikwad (75 off 44 balls) and Faf du Plessis (56 off 38 balls) – who added 129 off just 78 balls for the first wicket. Praising the team’s batting, which was an area of concern for CSK last year, MS Dhoni said:
“The batting was superb. But that doesn’t mean the bowling was not good. It was a surprisingly good wicket. Whenever we come to Delhi, we never expect a wicket like this. It was coming on nicely; there was nothing for the spinners as well. The good thing was there was no dew. Earlier, we felt 170 was just below par if there’s no dew. We had a brilliant opening partnership.”
With five wins from six matches, the MS Dhoni-led CSK have marched to the top of the points table with 10 points. In one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament, CSK will lock horns against the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) at the same venue in Delhi on Saturday.