Chennai Super Kings may well end their campaign without reaching the Indian Premier League playoffs for the first time in their history but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni wants his team to enjoy their remaining matches.
Talking after his team’s eight-wicket victory over RCB on Sunday, Dhoni said it was an almost perfect game. “I felt this one was one of the perfect games. Everything went to plan, and the execution was there. We kept picking wickets, and kept them to a total that was slightly below par,” he said in the post-match presentation.
The captain also explained what the team mindset is like at the moment.
“It does hurt when you don’t do well in the tournament... you do quite a few things, you try to amplify a few emotions so that the guys are not in panic and they don’t leave the game. In the sense, we don’t really have a chance to get into the playoffs, let’s not get into the mathematical things... We have three and a half hours with three more games to go and that’s like 12 hours, it can be very painful. So what you ask them is ‘let’s go out there, forget where we are on the table, give it your best shot and try to enjoy whatever the result may be.
You may or may not perform... If you are not enjoying the cricket, it can become cruel and painful. I felt the guys have always come on field and given their 100%,”
As things stands, Kolkata Knight Riders are on 12 points and a win against Kings XI Punjab on Monday will take them to 14 points. Three other sides – Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore – have already got 14 points.
CSK, on the other hand, can go up to 12 points even if they win their next two games.
Dhoni also lauded spinners Imran Tahir and Mitchell Santner who kept things tight while Ruturaj Gaikwad also got some amount of praise from the legend.
“The wicket was on a slower side, and the spinners did a good job. We haven’t been very consistent with the batting.
“Today, the start was very good. Rutu batted well. He backed himself to play the shots he is known for. Looking to time the ball, if you look for four, you can get six,” Dhoni said.