(The Times Of India)
MS Dhoni is not tired. And even if he is tired, it doesn’t matter. The Indian skipper is a super entertainer and if the sponsors are pressurizing the BCCI to send him for the One-dayers in West Indies, one can easily see the rationale of it. On Thursday evening in Chennai against Delhi Daredevils, Dhoni showed why he is so popular around the world despite having nothing elegant about his batting.
With Virender Sehwag out, he took upon himself the mantle of entertaining the 25,000-dtron crowd at the ground which helped CSK amass 176-4. On a sluggish Chepauk track, it was always a difficult chase and Daredevils slumped to a predictable defeat, by 18 runs, that allowed the Men in Yellow virtually clinch a playoff spot.
Dhoni (63 off 31 balls) came in at a time when the CSK innings was meandering towards a score of around 140. S Badrinath (55 off 43 balls) was well entrenched at one end, but the big shots were not exactly flowing. MSD simply tore into the Delhi attack, playing all those trademark strokes that have made him such a big hit among new-age cricket lovers.
The likes of Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan weren’t bowling too badly, but their well-pitched up deliveries were hit down the ground by Dhoni in his inimitable style. The resigned smile on Agarkar’s face said it all, when Dhoni almost sat on his knees and swung the bat and the ball crashed into the hoardings.
When the well-pitched deliveries started getting hit, the Delhi pacemen tried the short deliveries to pin Dhoni down on his backfoot. But the skipper knows this track well and was aware that the ball won’t come at a pace that can put him in any discomfort. So he went back and unleashed ferocious pull shots that sent James Hopes’ boys on a leather-hunt.
In between all this, he kept running for every single that was on offer and Badri at the other end obliged. The two put on 96 in 54 balls that virtually sealed the fate of the match. Badri is on the doorstep of making a comeback to the Indian side and he played his role to perfection. He never got bogged down and the moment there was an opportunity for a big shot, he pulled it out of his bag. The Dhoni-Badri partnership was absolute paisa-vasool for the Chennai crowd, but there was more in store. Dwayne Bravo, diving to his left, pulled off a stunning catch at backward point to dismiss Colin Ingram and for a moment the old-timers in the crowd couldn’t help thinking about one West Indian called Gus Logie, who made that area his own in the 1980s.
Dhoni also was keen to get his new three-pronged spin attack ready. Suraj Randiv is leaving in a couple of days and the skipper decided it’s time Suresh Raina got some confidence bowling those vital few overs in the middle. Raina did a decent job and with Bravo getting into his own, things really look bright for CSK.