'I haven't done a lot in the tournament, wanted to get that out of the system': Dhoni on his 'finisher' knock against DC
- MS Dhoni, on Sunday night, rolled back the years, hitting a six followed by three boundaries in the final over to help CSK book a place in the final of IPL 2021.
Cricket fans were forced to jump off their seats when a vintage Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit the winning shot against Delhi Capitals Sunday night in Dubai. With the help of his majestic cameo, the three-time champions defeated Rishabh Pant' DC by four wickets to storm into the final for the 9th time in the history of Indian Premier League.
In pursuit of a challenging 173-run target, CSK lost an early wicket in Faf du Plessis but a 110-run stand between Robin Uthappa and Ruturaj Gaikwad controlled the early damage inflicted by Anrich Nortje. The duo toyed with the DC bowlers until Tom Curran struck in the 14th over and took down Uthappa and Shardul Thakur.
Gaikwad steered the chase superbly thereafter but his dismissal in the penultimate over put DC back in the driving seat. Skipper Dhoni was at the crease, and the way he had performed in the previous games, a victory seemed unlikely. But the legendary wicketkeeper-batsman rolled back the years and proved that class is permanent. A six followed by three boundaries in the final over helped CSK book a place in the final.
"Nothing special, just watch the ball and hit the ball. I haven't done a lot in the tournament. So, you want to get that out of the system. If you are batting well in the nets, just look for the ball, what are the variations, where the bowler could bowl. Other than that, there was nothing much in the mind. If there are too many things floating around, it becomes difficult to watch the ball," Dhoni, who remained unbeaten on 18 off 6, said at the post-match presentation.
The CSK captain was full of praise for promising young opener Ruturaj, who registered his 4th half-century of the season. Dhoni called Gaikwad a good talent who plays authentic shots. "I had a conversation with him (Ruturaj) after one of the games. It was around why should an opener bat only till the 10th over. Why not till the 18th over. He is somebody who plays authentic shots. He is a good talent,” Dhoni concluded.
If Dhoni the batsman saw CSK home, throughout this tournament, his captaincy played a huge role in helping the team revive its campaign after the disappointment of last year. Last year, CSK failed to qualify for the IPL playoffs for the first time ever, but they are back to their scintillating best. The win in Qualifier 1 also broke CSK's string of three consecutive defeats.
"Last season was the first time we didn't qualify into playoffs. But we wanted to just make use of the 3-4 games left last season, and a lot of our batters made use of that. That is the reason why we have come back strongly this season," said Dhoni.