MS Dhoni was all praise for Ruturaj Gaikwad after Chennai Super Kings picked up their seventh win in the Indian Premier League season on Wednesday by beating the Delhi Capitals by 27 runs at Chepauk.
The Dhoni-led team batted first and scored 167/8 in 20 overs, but successfully defended their total by restricting last-placed Capitals to 140/8.
Ravindra Jadeja was adjudged the player of the match for his 1/19 with the ball and 21-run cameo off 16 deliveries while batting. Dhoni though was pleased with the efficiency displayed by the CSK bowling unit when it came to defending the target.
“One thing we know is that our spinners use a lot more seam than some of the other bowlers,” he said post-match. “We thought (the pitch) would slow down slightly. Frankly, in a way, we did not know what is a good score. You try to assess the wicket. If you’re scoring too many times 200s, 210s, at times when it’s the first 160, 170, you don’t know if it’s enough or not.”
“I wanted the bowlers to bowl their best deliveries, but not look for wickets in every delivery because that’s when you don’t bowl well and give loose deliveries to batters. I felt at the end of the game that 166-170 was a good score.”
Deepak Chahar picked up two wickets while Matheesha Pathirana earned three.
Dhoni however, was also concerned with the batting – CSK’s top scorer on the night was Shivam Dube (25 off 12).
“I think as a batting unit we can do better. There were a few shot selections where, on a wicket like this, you were probably better off playing some other shot. There were a couple where the execution was not at par. But that can happen in any format. What is important is if you play the right shot and if you took on the right boundary – whether I’m looking for a six, am I looking in the right area,” he added.
The captain though has been impressed by Ruturaj Gaikwad. The 26-year-old has been CSK’s second highest run scorer, with 408 runs from 12 matches – behind only Devon Conway’s 468.
“He’s batting really well. He’s somebody who, when he starts scoring, he’s (makes it seem) effortless. He’s somebody who can bat in all different scenarios if he gets a good start. If Conway is going after the bowlers, he’s somebody who is happy to rotate and give (Conway) the strike to him. Which means that his awareness of the game is there, which is very important,” Dhoni said.
“In T20 cricket you often play one kind of cricket – you go in and smash. But he’s someone who has shown that he’s ready to adapt to whatever is good for the team. You rarely get people like that. Yes, you get talented batters who are very good and all that. But people who read the game, who understand the game, who make it comfortable for batters who are coming in later, or getting the extra 15-20 to give some cushion to the bowlers, those are the players you really need in a team.”
The 41-year-old himself managed a rather important cameo, scoring 20 off nine in a quickfire innings that included a boundary and two sixes.
“That’s what my job is. I’ve told them this is what I’m supposed to do. Don’t make me run a lot. The others have been doing their job and I’ve said that this is what I need to do. I’m happy to contribute with whatever deliveries I’m getting. Accordingly, I have been practicing as well, whatever I may get in the game is what I’ve been practicing, so that helps me perform,” he added.
CSK is now second in the league table, behind only Gujarat Titans who have a game in hand. They next host the Kolkata Knight Riders on May 14.