MS Dhoni called out as 'selfish' for screaming at Daryl Mitchell and denying single to CSK all-rounder | Crickit
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MS Dhoni called out as 'selfish' for screaming at Daryl Mitchell and denying single to CSK all-rounder

May 02, 2024 08:25 AM IST

MS Dhoni's decision to turn down single to Daryl Mitchell in the last over of the CSK innings has not impressed fans.

MS Dhoni may be the greatest finisher of all time, but sometimes even the best don't get it right. And that's exactly what happened last evening when the Chennai Super Kings legend was batting at the fag end of the innings. Dhoni, who has been outstanding with the bat in IPL 2024, was facing Arshdeep Singh in the final over when he surprisingly denied his partner Daryl Mitchell, a single with four balls to go.

MS Dhoni and Daryl Mitchell's was the least recognised stand for CSK(AFP)
MS Dhoni and Daryl Mitchell's was the least recognised stand for CSK(AFP)

Dhoni drilled the second ball of the over from Arshdeep to sweeper cover in the deep but refused to run. Meanwhile, Mitchell was so eager to that in the process, he dashed to the batting end, tapped the crease and safely returned to the non-striker’s end. Technically, if Dhoni had run, he and Mitchell could have added two more runs to the CSK total. But unexpectedly enough, perhaps Dhoni did not trust his partner's abilities. A slow-motion replay even showed Dhoni screaming at Mitchell to scamper back.

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Now, Dhoni’s act managed to hit the next two balls for a four and six, making the Chepauk crowd go berserk as usual. But fans on X were not pleased to see Dhoni deny singles to someone as good as Mitchell. The New Zealand all-rounder came out to bat at No.8, and anyone who has followed cricket rigorously knows what Mitchell can do. The guy almost gave India another heartbreak at the World Cup semifinal last year, and fans couldn't believe Dhoni, at 42, trusted his instincts more than Mitchell's. Dhoni was eventually run out off the last ball of the innings - his first dismissal this season - as CSK finished with 162/7, a total that was easily chased down by Punjab Kings by seven wickets.

This isn't Dhoni's first refusal to take singles to put his partner on strike. But while most of these previous instances involved a tailender as his partner – in 2014, he infamously did it to Ambati Rayudu. Dhoni's plan backfired, and India lost the T20 to England. With five needed off two, Dhoni sent Rayudu back and then failed to clear the boundary off the last ball as well. It marked one of the first occasions when Dhoni failed to land the knockout blow. Back then, it was debated whether it was selfish on Dhoni's part to want the spotlight to have finished the game himself or it was too much self-belief. And now, 10 years later, the public is using a tag like 'selfish' to address the situation.

Mitchell a capable all-rounder capable of hitting lusty blows

The fact that Dhoni did not put Mitchell, of all people, on strike is quite baffling. Stephen Fleming, the CSK coach and a former New Zealand captain, couldn't possibly not be aware of Mitchell's big-hitting skills. The all-rounder has a strike rate of 138 in T20Is and has scored 7 half-centuries for New Zealand in the format. Heck, he was coming off a half-century in CSK's previous game against Sunrisers Hyderabad – 52 off 32 balls with seven fours and a six – which Chennai won handsomely by 78 runs.

Another puzzling move was to send Mitchell at No. 8 in the first place – below Sameer Rizvi, Moeen Ali – and Ravindra Jadeja at 4. Only Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Richard Gleeson and Mustafizur Rahman were to come after him. What prompted this decision is probably a question that only CSK and management could answer, but rest assured, it was pretty unexpected to say the least.

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