Dhoni said I’d bowl to Sachin in middle overs: How CSK captain turned IPL 2010 final, narrates Jakati
Many believed the relation between Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni was one of the main reasons behind the bonding of India’s World Cup-winning team in 2011. There were also reports that Tendulkar had played a pivotal role when Dhoni was picked as India’s limited-overs skipper following Rahul Dravid’s decision to quit. The two stalwarts were the pillars of India’s success in the last decade. That bond only got a break during April-May of each year from 2008 onwards due to IPL. As true professionals, their only goal was to outdo each other when Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings took on Sachin’s Mumbai Indians.
In 2010 IPL final when CSK still weren’t as invincible as they are now and Mumbai were far from being the tournament’s most successful side, Dhoni, the CSK captain, plotted the dismissal of Sachin, the MI captain to turn the tide of the match.
10 years after that final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, former CSK spinner Shadab Jakati revealed how Dhoni’s tactics won Chennai their maiden IPL title.
Left-arm spinner Jakati was one of the main weapons for Dhoni in that IPL. He used Jakati mainly in the first 10 overs throughout the tournament with good results. But in the final against MI in 2010, Dhoni reserved the left-arm spinner keeping Mumbai’s right-handers in mind.
“I had gone for 21 runs in my first two overs,” Jakati recalls. “With left-hander Abhishek Nayar batting, Dhoni told me I’d now bowl in the middle overs, keeping me for the right-handers – Sachin Tendulkar, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard. We had done our homework against MI’s right-handers, who were potentially weak against left-arm spinners,” Jakati told Wisden India.
Chasing 169 for victory Mumbai were on track with Tendulkar nearing fifty when the tides turned in the 15th over. With MI needing 74 off the final six, the onus was Tendulkar to go for the big hits. Dhoni knew this and threw the ball to Jakati who would turn it away from Sachin, forcing him to play against the spin.
Sachin hit the first ball of the over for a boundary but in the next ball, his mishit landed straight on the lap of the long-off fielder.
Three balls later Jakati got the wicket of Saurabh Tiwary(0) to bring CSK on top.
It was the same game where Dhoni set up Pollard’s dismissal, who was threatening to take the game away from CSK, by placing a mid-off as well as a long-off.
“In that particular match, he got Pollard out placing [Matthew] Hayden right behind the bowler. He did quite a few things. He used to know which bowler to bring on at what time. Basically, he was a captain who knew how to get the best out of the players at the right time,” Jakati said.
CSK, in the end, won the match by 22 runs to lift their maiden IPL trophy.
Jakati, who picked up 48 wickets in four seasons for CSK between 2009 and 2012, lauded Dhoni for his instincts.
“He never attended any bowlers’ meeting,” says Jakati. “[That’s] purely because he backs his own instincts and gut feeling at that particular time of the match. He gave us freedom to choose our fields, and if it didn’t work, he’d use his brains. But the first preference was us,” Jakati added.