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Dhoni's heroics despite back spasm leave CSK short by four runs

Monday, April 16, 2018 • Tamil Comments

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Mahi to his fans and fellow-cricketers) played one of the best T20 innings one can ever get to see at any ground and against any opposition.  Chasing a stiff target of 198 and walking in to bat before the end of the 7th over, an injured Dhoni fought like a brave lieutenant, taking it upon himself even in the last over to score 15 off the last four balls.  Some very good bowling by Mohit and an injured lower back cramping Dhoni made CSK lose by four runs rather than King’s XI Punjab win by four runs.

The last ball six of Dhoni, which sailed into the crowd reminiscent of his shot which brought India the cricket world Cup in 2011, proved what a great cricketing warrior he has been for more than a decade now.  No other batsman in his position would have batted without opting for a runner’s assistance but not Dhoni, easily the fastest-running cricketer between the wickets!  Dhoni hit five towering 6’s and six 4’s.

CSK lost big-hitting Shane Watson in the second over and an off-colour Murali Vijay (who got a look-in thanks to Suresh Raina’s injury) in the fifth over.  Sam Billings, who won the match for CSK against KKR, got out when his sweep missed a straighter one from Ashwin.  CSK were never in line with the required run rate and it always hovered around the 13-15 runs per over till the last over.

Earlier, West Indian Chris Gayle, a surprise choice to open the innings along with K.L. Rahul for KXIP, roared back into form with a typically aggressive 63 off 33 balls with seven 4’s and four 6’s.  Rahul, Mayank Aggarwal, Yuvraj Singh and Karun Nair made useful contributions as CSK managed to peg back the home-team at Mohali to less than 200 runs.  At one stage, Punjab was looking at a total in the 220-230 range.

Ambati Rayudu, who played at No.3 after opening the CSK’s innings with Watson in the first two matches, continued from where he left earlier, scoring a busy 49 off 35 balls.  He got out to a surprising direct throw by Ashwin who played like a seasoned captain, managed his resources well and emerged victorious in the end, helped greatly by the injured lieutenant, who roared like a lion with a bat in his hands.

CSK might have lost two points to remain on top of the points table but were certainly not disgraced in their defeat.  Dhoni played down his back injury during the post-match presentation and even defended coach Stephen Fleming’s decision to send Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Dwayne Bravo when the team needed 84 runs from 6.2 overs.  Ashwin didn’t forget to praise Dhoni’s efforts in particular and the huge run chase by his former CSK team-mates.

Brief scores: KXIP won by four runs

KXIP: 197/7 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 37, Chris Gayle 69, Mayank Aggarwal 30, Yuvraj Singh 20, Karun Nair 29, Shardul Thakur 2-33, Imran Tahir 2-34) beat CSK: 193/5 in 20 overs (Ambati Rayudu 49, Ravindra Jadeja 19, M.S. Dhoni 79*, Andrew Tye 2-47)