CSK skipper Dhoni @ 200 turns into damp squib

Youngsters did not show spark to replace seniors, feels beleaguered captain

Abu Dhabi, Oct. 20:

Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday said the youngsters in his squad did not show the spark needed to break into the playing XI at the expense of the veterans.

Three-time winners CSK, who have been criticised for continuing with their old warhorses, suffered their seventh defeat in the ongoing IPL, this time to Rajasthan Royals.

The match marked the 200th appearance of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in IPL but, as is his wont, the skipper played down the milestone and said he was oblivious to it.

M.S. Dhoni

“You spoke about it and that’s how I got to know,” Dhoni told presenter Danny Morrison at the toss. The two-time World Cup winning captain added, “It feels good but at the same time it’s just a number. I feel fortunate to play for such a long time without many injuries.”

“You don’t want to chop and change. Insecurity is something you don’t want to prevail in the dressing room. Fair enough, this season we weren’t really there,” Dhoni said at the presentation ceremony after suffering the seven-wicket loss. “Also the youngsters, we didn’t see the spark to push the guys. But what this result has done is give those youngsters a chance in the rest of the tournament.

“Maybe going forward we bring them in and they play without pressure.” RR restricted CSK to a modest 125 for five after being invited to bowl and then overcame the target in 17.3 overs, thanks to a 98-run fourth wicket partnership between Jos Buttler (70) and skipper Steve Smith (26). Dhoni said, “There was a bit for the fast bowlers and the reason I brought (Ravindra) Jadeja was to see how much it was stopping and it didn’t as much as the first innings. So I went with the fast bowlers. I don’t think the spinners got as much bite.

“It’s not always supposed to go your way. We have to see if the process was wrong. Result is a by-product of the process, but the fact still remains that if you’re focused on the process then the undue pressure of result doesn’t enter the dressing room.” RR captain Smith was relieved to have secured a crucial win at an important stage of the tournament. “The wicket was stopping, wasn’t easy for batting. Strange game but nice to be on the winning side.

Jos Butler

“I thought we bowled pretty well in the powerplay and the spinners did a good job in the middle with their leggies and googlies and squeezing,” he said. “Buttler’s innings took the pressure off me at the other end. It was a really good innings on a wicket that wasn’t the easiest,” Smith added. It turned out to be an excellent day for Buttler, who sent back Faf du Plessis with an incredible catch earlier in the day. Early wickets were the need of the hour for CSK while defending such a low total and the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side did exactly that by reducing RR to 28 for three inside five overs.

Ben Stokes (19) started on a bright note before inside-edging a Deepak Chahar delivery on to his stumps and an over later, Robin Uthappa was sent back by Josh Hazzlewood as the right-hander went for an extravagant scoop over wicketkeeper Dhoni, who was playing his 200th IPL game.

After shining early in the tournament, Sanju Samson continued to disappoint with the bat, departing for a duck.

Buttler and Smith joined hands and played cautiously initially. While Buttler was the aggressor, Smith played the second fiddle in the partnership.

I thought we bowled pretty well in the powerplay and the spinners did a good job in the middle with their leggies and googlies and squeezing – Smith

Opting to bat, CSK never got going and lacked the fire power to put up a decent score after being reduced to 56 for four in 10 overs.

Ravindra Jadeja top-scored for CSK with a 30-ball unbeaten 35 and skipper Dhoni made a run-a-ball 28 while adding 51 runs for the fifth wicket.

Jofra Archer (1/20) was terrific with the new ball but he would be disappointed with his outing on the field.

Besides Archer, the spin duo of Shreyas Gopal (1/14) and Rahul Tewatia (1/18) were economical in the middle overs, while young Kartik Tyagi (1/35) too was impressive.

Dhoni’s decision to bat first backfired as RR picked up wickets at regular intervals to make life difficult for CSK. CSK lost the in-form Faf du Plessis (10) in the third over, caught by Jos Buttler off Archer and then an over later, Shane Watson was sent back by Kartik.

Opening the batting again, Sam Curran made 22 off 25 balls before being dismissed by Gopal. After that, a lot depended on Ambati Rayudu but he too disappointed, perishing in the next over off Tewatia’s bowling as CSK slumped to 56 for four.

Dhoni and Jadeja tried their best to resurrect the innings and then up the ante, but it proved to be too little too late. Dhoni was run out in search of a double in the 18th over. Kedar Jadhav continued to struggle with the bat as RR bowlers didn’t give the CSK batsmen any leeway.

See also:

Sports @ Trinity Mirror

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