M S Dhoni rolled back the years on Thursday with 16 runs off the last four balls of Chennai Super Kings’ successful chase over Mumbai Indians who are languishing at the bottom of the Indian Premier League points table.
Dhoni remained unbeaten with 28 off 13 balls, with three fours and a six, against Mumbai who scored 155/7 after Chennai skipper Ravindra Jadeja won the toss and asked them to bat first. It was seventh consecutive defeat for Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai, the most successful side in the league’s history with five titles, who remain winless this season.
The 40-year-old Dhoni handed the captaincy to Jadeja this season and it has been a scrappy start for Chennai, the tournament’s other powerhouse, who have only won two out of their seven games and are second-last in the 10 team league.
Jaydev Unadkat had given away 31 runs in his three overs earlier and bowled the all-important last over of the Chennai chase and was hit for 17 runs all over the park by vintage Dhoni. CSK needed 16 off the last four deliveries and Dhoni then tore into Unadkat and got the job done by hitting 6,4,2,4.
Dwayne Pretorius, who had set the tone with his 22 off 14 for the final flourish from Dhoni, also detailed the instructions Dhoni gave during their stay on the crease.
‘Master at finishing off games’
“Unbelievable. He’s the master at finishing off games and he did it again tonight (Thursday),” Dwaine Pretorius told Star Sports.
“I wanted to go for that scoop shot in the first over against Bumrah (his third), but he (Dhoni) said ‘Wait, wait, wait’.”
“I waited and the next over I said, ‘Now I’m going.’ And he said to go for it. I went for it. We knew we needed five boundaries, no dots and we could get over the line. I’m working hard and just glad I could contribute to a win to the team today and hopefully we can win a few more,” Pretorius said.
‘The great finisher of the game’
Meanwhile, captain Jadeja admitted that the team was nervous, but he was convinced that MS Dhoni would finish the game if he played until the final ball.
He told Star Sports in the post-match presentation ceremony, “Actually, we were very tense, the way the game was going, but at some stage we knew that the great finisher of the game was there and if he played to the last ball, he can definitely finish the match. He showed the world that he’s still here and he can finish the game.”
‘He took them home’
MI captain Rohit Sharma, who is yet to lead his side to a win this season, also lauded Dhoni’s performance and credited him for taking the game away from them.
“In the end, it was a great fight from us, we were in the game after not batting well, the bowlers kept us in, but in the end, you know how towering MSD can be and he took them home.”
It’s hard to put a finger on anything, but we’re not starting well in the match. If you lose quick wickets, you’ll always be playing the catching game.”
“But I thought we did well to keep them under pressure, we did so until the last over, but Pretorius and Dhoni took them home. We always back ourselves to do well, but as I said, we lost too many early wickets, we did make a good comeback with both bat and ball, but it wasn’t enough in the end.”
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(With inputs from AFP)