Gautam Gambhir has slammed Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni’s decision to bat at No.7 with his team chasing 217 against Rajasthan Royals in an IPL 2020 match on Tuesday. The three-time champions eventually fell short to lose by 16 runs. Also Read - IPL 2020: Mohammed Siraj Wasn't Supposed to Open The Attack And Then Virat Kohli Had a Change of Heart
When Dhoni walked in to bat, the chase was a lost cause already with CSK needing 103 off 38 deliveries. Barring Faf du Plessis, who scored 72 off 37, no other CSK batsman managed a significant total with Shane Watson’s 33 off 21 next best. Also Read - IPL 2020: Mohammed Siraj's Record Spell Sinks Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi
On the same pitch, RR batsmen flourished with Sanju Samson hitting 74 off 32 while their skipper Steve Smith scoring 69 off 47. Even Jofra Archer made hay with an unbeaten 27 off 8 deliveries to power RR to 216/7. Also Read - IPL 2020 Playoffs Qualification Scenario: How Can CSK, RR, KXIP, SRH Still Finish Top Four
With his team in dire straits, Dhoni sent the likes of Sam Curran, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Kedar Jadhav to bat ahead of himself.
“I was a bit surprised, to be honest. MS Dhoni batting at number seven?” Gambhir was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “And sending Gaikwad before him, Sam Curran before him. (It) makes no sense to me. In fact, you should be leading from the front. And this is not what you call leading from the front. Batting at number seven when you’re chasing what 217? The game was over. Faf was probably the lone warrior.”
Dhoni started slow before unleashing three sixes in the final over to remain unbeaten on 29 but by then it was too late.
“Yes, you can talk about MS Dhoni’s last over when he hit three sixes, but it was of no use to be honest. It was just all personal runs. See, if someone else would have done this, some other captain had batted number seven, he would have got a lot of flak,” Gambhir said.
“It is MS Dhoni – probably (that’s) why people don’t talk about it. When you don’t have Suresh Raina, you’re making people believe that Sam Curran is better than you. You’re making people believe that Ruturaj Gaikwad, Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, all these guys are better than you,” he added.
When asked, Dhoni said not batting for a long time was the reason he held himself back.
“I haven’t batted for a long time; 14-day quarantine doesn’t help,” Dhoni said after the match. “Also wanted to try different things, give opportunities to Sam. Have the opportunity to try different things. If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to your strengths. Faf adapted very well. Something the batsmen will do, neglect square leg and go more towards long-on and long-off.”