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IPL 2018: MS Dhoni gives ‘car and bike’ analogy for not bowling Harbhajan Singh

MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2018 final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.

cricket Updated: May 26, 2018 23:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2018,MS Dhoni,Harbhajan Singh
Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson and Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni pose with IPL 2018 trophy in Mumbai on Saturday.(PTI)

The age of the Chennai Super Kings players had been in focus from the time the player auction took place ahead of IPL 2018. With Shane Watson, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja were all past 30 and questions were raised about the squad that perhaps wasn’t the fittest of the lot.

On Saturday, as the team got ready to lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad in its seventh IPL final, Dhoni lauded the experience in his squad but added a caveat. “Experience really counts, but it’s not that it always matters. It’s not something that can’t be replaced. The good thing is we have managed with them very well,” he told reporters on Saturday.

READ | IPL 2018: For Chennai Super Kings, 30s provide perfect vision

In the last game – Qualifier 1 against SRH which CSK won -- Harbhajan Singh was in the playing eleven but didn’t send down a single over. “You know, I have a lot of cars and bikes in my house. I don’t ride all at a time. There are times, especially when you have six to seven bowlers in the side, you want to (go by) the condition… who’s batting and what’s needed at that point. It’s always tough (to not hand him the ball). In the last game, I didn’t feel it was necessary to bowl him, and I didn’t bowl him,” Dhoni said. It was the third instance in the off-spinner’s 149-game IPL career that he had not bowled in a game.

While CSK have made it a habit to reach the summit clash – seven in nine editions they have played -- it will only be the second final for Sunrisers, who beat Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2016 to lift their only title. While they would want a repeat of that, they would also be wary that they’ve lost all three games to Chennai Super Kings this season.

READ | IPL 2018 final, Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - Key player battles

That stat, however, didn’t seem to concern coach Tom Moody. “I’m not looking at areas we need to tighten up. We just need to concentrate on our brand of cricket and make sure we bring that to the final tomorrow. And as long as we do that, I’m sure we’ll be competitive on the day,” he said.

Captain Kane Williamson endorsed the view. “Both teams have a lot to play for and both teams have an opportunity to play a final against one another. Both have been really competitive throughout the whole competition.”

First Published: May 26, 2018 22:42 IST