MS Dhoni was a proud man as Chennai Super Kings opened their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 account with a comfortable 6-wicket win over Punjab Kings in Mumbai on Friday. However, the thought of having played 200 matches for a single franchise — CSK does make Dhoni conscious about his age.
MS Dhoni became only the 2nd player after Virat Kohli to play 200 T20 matches for a particular franchise. Dhoni celebrated the landmark game with a dominant victory in Mumbai, which is the Super Kings’ home ground for the first 5 matches of IPL 2021. CSK moved up to the 2nd spot after their big win on Friday.
After their 7-wicket loss to Delhi Capitals in their season opener on Saturday, CSK roared back to winning ways, gunning down a paltry 107-run total in just 15.4 overs. MS Dhoni marshalled is troops well as CSK restricted Punjab Kings to 106 for 8 in 20 overs. Moeen Ali’s quickfire 46 and Faf du Plessis unbeaten 36 helped the 3-time champions complete a comfortable chase.
MS Dhoni, 39, recalled his IPL journey, saying: “Makes me feel very old and it has been a very long journey [on playing 200 matches for CSK]. It started in 2008 – played in South Africa, Dubai, and back home. Never thought Mumbai would be our home.”
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Dhoni had issues with dew at the Wankhede after Delhi Capitals gunned down a 189-run target in just 18.4 overs against Chennai Super Kings. However, on Friday, the pitch played out perfectly to suit CSK.
“In 2011, the last time that we were happy with the Chennai wicket. Before that, there was spin, but it also helped fast bowlers. After the wicket was relaid, we found it difficult to adjust to conditions. This is a very good wicket, but it depends on the conditions on that day. The ball moved today, but it didn’t swing around a lot. There was no dew and enough seam movement,” Dhoni said of the Mumbai pitch.
MS Dhoni explains Deepak Chahar masterstroke
Deepak Chahar orchestrated Punjab Kings’ downfall with 4 wickets in his 4-over spell. The right-arm pacer, who was asked to bowl all 4 overs upfront, finished with his career-best IPL figures of 4/13 after removing Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and in-form Deepak Hooda as Punjab slipped to 26 for 5 inside the first 10 overs.
Speaking about his decision to use all 4 of Chahar’s overs upfront, Dhoni added: “Overall the years, Chahar has matured into a death bowler too but he’s somebody who gets more purchase than other bowlers. If you’re looking to attack, why not finish his first four overs. Bravo can bowl at the death. It’s not a secret,” he added.
MS Dhoni also shed light on CSK’s decision to continue using Moeen Ali at No. 3 ahead of Suresh Raina despite the Chinna Thala’s fifty in their previous outing. Ali responded to the CSK captain’s call by hitting a match-winning 46 on Friday.
“We felt if Moeen bats up the order, we can make use of the resources that we got. Moeen is a very good timer of the ball and plays authentic shots. We have to make the most of the resources,” he added.
Having opened their account, CSK will be looking to stitch a winning momentum when they face in-form Rajasthan Royals on Monday in Mumbai.