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‘I would’ve hit it for six if…’: Dhoni’s huge revelation on Sandeep’s last over; slams CSK batters for ‘dot balls’

Even though MS Dhoni managed to rewrite history on Wednesday, it was business as usual for the charismatic leader of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who almost pulled off a heist for the four-time champions in their recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 encounter at the Chepauk. Dhoni’s late blitz almost overshadowed Sandeep Sharma’s final over heroics as CSK lost their home game to Rajasthan Royals (RR) by only 3 runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Often dubbed as the greatest finisher in the history of the game, Dhoni played a quick-fire knock of 32 not out off just 17 balls. However, the talismanic batter of the Yellow Brigade failed to close the game for CSK as pacer Sandeep Sharma held his nerve and successfully defended 20 runs in the final over. Dhoni did Sandeep for consecutive sixes in the second and third ball of his last over but the medium pacer came back strongly.

With Dhoni on strike, Sandeep was tasked to defend 5 runs on the final ball to seal RR’s memorable win. The RR pacer nailed his yorker to thwart Chennai’s bid at the Chepauk.

Roped in for a quick chat after the final-over thriller between the former champions, former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri asked Dhoni to reflect on his calculative assault on RR bowlers in the death overs.

“With 6 (5) needed off 1 ball, he bowled 2 really good deliveries from around the wicket. Any thing going on your mind to change something or just wait?” Asked Shastri.

“I would wait for it and that is something which has worked for me, and at the end of the day, the bowler is under more pressure, even if he misses by a few inches, I can hit it for a six. You need to back your strength and my strength is to hit straight,” Dhoni said.

The legendary cricketer said he tries to stand still and wait for the bowler to commit a mistake in the death overs.

“You see the field, see the bowler and what the bowler is trying to do, after that just stand still and wait for them to commit the mistake, if they bowl in good areas then good luck to them. ,” Dhoni told Shastri at the post-match presentation.

The CSK skipper was very critical of his top-order for facing too many dot balls and letting the required rate climb. “I think in the middle overs we needed a bit more strike rotation, there were too many dot balls. There wasn’t much for the spinners but they had experienced spinners and we could not rotate strike. It was not that difficult and the ownership (of the loss) should come from the batters. It was good that we could reach striking distance (of the target) as we were the last pair,” Dhoni added.

The 41-year-old also became the first captain to lead an IPL franchise in 200 matches. When asked about his staggering feat, Dhoni explained that just like his ex-India teammate Virat Kohli, he is not big on creating milestones. For the unversed, former India skipper Kohli issued a similar statement when the batting icon was asked about his special feat in the Sri Lanka series.

“I really didn’t know it was my 200th (game as CSK skipper) and milestones don’t really matter for me, it is about how you’re performing and the results,” Dhoni said. While Dhoni and Co. remained fifth on the IPL 2023 points table, Sanju Samson’s RR climbed to the top spot after defeating CSK in their backyard. Dhoni’s CSK side has picked up four points from 4 matches in the league stage of the IPL 2023.

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