MS Dhoni scored 18 off just 6 balls to steer CSK into the 2021 IPL Final (PC: IPL)
Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar attributed MS Dhoni’s decision to promote himself over Ravindra Jadeja to keep the left hand-right hand combination alive out in the middle. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper made good use of the shorter boundary on the leg-side after Moeen Ali perished on the long side early in the over.
Dhoni came in at No.7 when the majority of the people were expecting the in-form Ravindra Jadeja to walk out. The former India skipper was under pressure given his poor form with the bat, with the required run rate climbing up as well. Dhoni managed to strike three boundaries and a maximum out of the six deliveries he faced to send CSK into their ninth IPL final.
Manjrekar praised Dhoni for having the will to walk out in such risky situations even at the twilight of his career. While speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, Manjrekar said:
“This is his greatness, he has played so many innings like this, where there is so much risk if things don’t go as intended. Coming into such a situation, at this stage if his career is truly a sign of his greatness.””See, he had to maintain the left hand-right hand combination, but if you see in the eight handers, there was Bravo as an option. But he went the right way, if you compare the batting of both Dhoni and Bravo, I still feel that Dhoni is the better batsman.”
All of MS Dhoni’s boundaries came on the leg-side. His six off Avesh Khan in the penultimate over was hit on the longer side of the ground, but Tom Curran was punished as the captain took full advantage of the gaps on the leg side.
Dhoni did this in the 2011 World Cup as well: Sanjay Manjrekar
Manjrekar compared this instance to the one in the 2011 World Cup final where Dhoni famously promoted himself ahead of Yuvraj Singh to keep the left hand-right hand partnership intact with Gautam Gambhir at the crease.
The move was made to counter Muttiah Muralidaran, who would have fared better with two left-handers out in the middle. Manjrekar added:
“If you remember, he did this in the 2011 World Cup as well. He promoted himself to maintain the left hand-right hand partnership, because Muralidaran had 8 overs remaining,” Manjrekar added.
CSK were able to beat DC after four losses in a row against the Delhi-based franchise. They now await the results of the Eliminator and Qualifier 2.