Mahendra Singh Dhoni is lightning quick behind the stumps and the veteran wicket-keeper batsman said it is a skill which he has developed from tennis ball cricket. 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.” Skipper Dhoni has been in super form in the ongoing IPL and after sitting out for a couple of matches due to fever and a stiff back, he smashed an unbeaten 44 off 22 balls to power Chennai Super Kings to 179 against Delhi Capitals on Wednesday night.
CSK were struggling in the beginning but thanks to Dhoni, CSK scored 20 runs from the last over bowled by Trent Boult with the stumper finishing off with two sixes off the final two balls. Asked about his power-packed knock, Dhoni said he had spent enough time on the wicket to understand the bowling variations and unleash his game towards the end to lead Chennai Super Kings to a match-winning total. “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 (Harbhajan Singh) didn’t get any turn. But as they started losing wickets, it started spinning, it started turning. Cricket is such a game,” he said after the 80-run win over Delhi Capitals.
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 to have 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) 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 winning momentum going.”
Jadeja said Dhoni can be described by one word and that is ‘genius’. Losing skipper Shreyas Iyer said the defeat was a “reality check” for Delhi. “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 overs after the South African pacer was ruled out of the game due to a back issue.
“He’s (Rabada) an amazing bowler, especially in the slog overs. For sure we missed him. 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.