MS Dhoni of the past was there to be seen at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali as Chennai Super Kings chased 198 runs for win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Sunday. Facing hosts Kings XI Punjab, Dhoni turned back the clock with big hitting including a one-handed six to Andrew Tye on the final ball of the penultimate over to keep things alive. But a smart final over from Mohit Sharma kept CSK at an arm’s length for KXIP to win by 4-runs. In the end, MS Dhoni’s numbers read 79 runs from 44 balls. To further highlight this battling knock, Dhoni did all this while suffering from a bad lower back.
Dhoni’s miraculous 79-run innings where he smacked six fours and five sixes kept the fans on the ropes. The CSK captain received treatment from the team physio when he injured his lower back while taking a quick double. He was clearly in pain and it showed on the veteran’s face. He, however, continued to bat on even though at numerous occasions he clutched his back while running between the wickets. To avoid having to run too much, Dhoni opted for the next best option – smack the bowlers around for boundaries. And it worked exceptionally as KXIP bowlers failed to get the better of Dhoni. Dhoni’s knock left many surprised and it further emphasised that a 200-run target is far from difficult under current scenario.
Post the disappointing loss in the last over, Dhoni spent time with his daughter Ziva as he looked to put the close defeat behind him. At the post match ceremony, Dhoni complemented KXIP and said, “They bowled very well, Mujeeb made a difference. I don’t think there was much dew on the ground. They played better than us. We can improve in few areas. Chris’ [Gayle] innings in the first innings and Mujeeb’s bowling made a difference. It was a close game. We will be a safe fielding team and not be an exceptional one. We have to be smart while bowling. We want to keep hitting boundaries here and there and that can make a difference. All the games we have been part of were close, so individuals would have learnt from that.”
Also in the stands was Dhoni’s wife Sakshi to cheer ‘MS’ on in quest to get CSK’s second win of the IPL season – however that wasn’t to be.
Ravindra Jadeja was sent higher up the order instead of Dwayne Bravo. The 37-year-old said in response, “[Stephen] Fleming is in the dugout so he needs to take the decision. We have confidence in Jadeja because he being a left-hander is not easy for the bowlers. This is the time we need to give him the opportunity. If Jadeja can do the job of the floater that would be really good for the team as we have [Suresh] Raina at the top of the order. I will back him as we have not given him many opportunities.”