IPL: By 20th over I was ready to swing at everything, says Dhoni

Chennai: Skipper MS Dhoni said he had spent enough time on the wicket to understand the bowling variations and unleash his power-packed game towards the end to lead Chennai Super Kings to a match-winning total against Delhi Capitals, here Wednesday.

CSK were struggling in the beginning but Dhoni, returning to the side after recovering from a bout of fever, pulled the game away from Delhi Capitals, scoring unbeaten 44 from 22 balls. CSK scored 20 runs from last over bowled by Trent Boult with Dhoni finishing with two sixes off final two balls.

“Watch the ball, hit the ball. You’ve spent time, you know the variations. By the 20th over you’re almost ready and you swing at everything,” Dhoni said when asked about his last-over exploits. “It’s easier for somebody who has played 10-15 deliveries than someone who has just come in.”

Dhoni said the conditions actually favoured them though they lost the toss. “We knew there wouldn’t be much dew. What we’ve seen is if there’s no dew, there’s assistance for spinners. But when we started, Bhajju pa didn’t get any turn. But as they started losing wickets, it started spinning, it started turning. Cricket is such a game.”

Talking about his super quick stumpings, Dhoni said, “I think it’s something that’s come from tennis ball cricket. But you still have to do the basics and graduate to that level. If you want to keep like that you can make mistakes; so I still think basics are most important.”

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who took three wickets, said the wicket helped spinners. “Obviously I enjoyed bowling, the way the wicket was turning. I was bowling in good areas and the wicket was doing the rest for me,” he said.

Asked how it helps having someone like Imran Tahir bowling in tandem with him, Jadeja said the South African has been “fantastic” “He has been taking wickets whenever we needed. Me, Immy bhai and Bhajju pa (Harbhajan Singh) as a unit, we are bowling the way we want to bowl. Still one more game to go. We need to continue our momentum. Everyone is in good form so we just need to keep the winnings momentum.” Jadeja said Dhoni can be described by one word and that is ‘genius’. Losing skipper Shreyas Iyer said the defeat was a “reality check”.

“It’s really going to affect us. The way we played was not expected. Everybody will be on their toes in the next game. Wouldn’t blame the abilities of our team but we didn’t play smart cricket. We should have curtailed them,” he said.

Iyer said they missed someone like Kagiso Rabada in death over as the South African pacer missed out on the game due to a back issue “He’s an amazing bowler especially in the slog overs. For sure we missed. But he had a stiff back, it’s good he got to take rest. We’re keeping the hope and definitely want to finish in the top two.”