“Why did Gautam Gambhir set a Test field for MS Dhoni in the IPL?” – Robin Uthappa reminisces unique rivalry [WATCH]

MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir enjoyed special rivalry in IPL.

Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni, who played prominent roles in India's 2011 World Cup final, shared great camaraderie on the field during their international careers.

However, the duo emerged as one of the biggest rivals on the field in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Gambhir, a two-time IPL champion with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), beat the Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in 2012 to lift his first IPL trophy.

The rivalry peaked when Gambhir started employing a unique tactic to get rid of Dhoni. He would set a Test cricket field – two slips and one or two close-in short-leg fielders - to dismiss the CSK and now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) batter, who often struggled against leg spin. The tactic favored KKR as the batter 1(4) fell cheaply.

Gautam Gambhir's love towards MS Dhoni continues. #IPL #RPSvKKR #IPL2017

On Tuesday, former Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa, who has played with both KKR and CSK, finally revealed the story behind Gambhir's unique fielding against the CSK captain while reminiscing about his IPL career.

Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Uthappa said:

“That question is better directed to Gautam Gambhir than me. I was just a wicketkeeper at that point in time. It was just to put a little bit more pressure on MS Dhoni. I think initially, when he comes in to bat, just to force him to play a big shot. I think so it was an in-and-out kind of field, where you had a lot of fielders very close to the bat.”

Gambhir emerged as one of the most successful captains in the IPL with 71 wins in 129 matches. He is only behind Rohit Sharma (79) and Dhoni (123) in terms of the most wins in the cash-rich league.

Indian captains to win an IPL trophy:Rohit Sharma (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020)MS Dhoni (2010, 2011, 2018, 2021)Gautam Gambhir (2012, 2014)Hardik Pandya (2022)An all-elite list ⭐⭐#RohitSharma #MSDhoni #GautamGambhir #HardikPandya #IPL2022 #Cricket

Ahead of IPL 2023, Lucknow Super Giants have appointed Gambhir as Global Mentor for their cricketing ventures. Meanwhile, Dhoni will once again be in action in the T20 extravaganza next year.

“One of the best legspinners to have played the IPL” – Uthappa hails Piyush Chawla for Dhoni’s wicket

Uthappa also hailed Piyush Chawla for his deceptive bowling during his IPL career. He also praised him for living up to Gambhir's expectations on the given day.

Uthappa said:

“Piyush Chawla was bowling; he is one of the best legspinners to have played the IPL. His records state as much, and he can be a very deceptive bowler. Everyone knows when MS comes in to bat to the spinners, he can be a little tentative. So, I think Gautam wanted to take advantage of that fact.”

Chawla is among the top four wicket-takers in the IPL with 157 scalps in 165 matches, just behind Amit Mishra (166), Lasith Malinga (170), and Dwayne Bravo (183). He has also represented CSK, Kings XI Punjab, and Mumbai Indians in addition to KKR.

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Edited by Aatiya Alim Qazi
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