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Is MS Dhoni finished as a T20 batsman? CSK coach Stephen Fleming replies!

MS Dhoni

Dubai, October 5: MS Dhoni will always be remembered for his explosive batsmanship and ability to pace his innings as per the requirement of the match. But on Monday night (October 4) Dhoni looked a distant shadow of his familiar self.

Dhoni made a vastly sub-par 18 off 27 deliveries without even one boundary and his strike rate was very un-T20 like 66 in an IPL 2021 match against Delhi Capitals. There have been calls from various quarters to look beyond Dhoni at least for the IPL 2022 but CSK coach Stephen Fleming defended the veteran cricketer.

Shimron Hetmyer played an unbeaten knock of 28 runs off just 18 balls to help Delhi Capitals defeat CSK by three wickets with two balls to spare.

With this win, Rishabh Pant-led outfit moved to the top of the points table with 20 points from 13 games.

"Dhoni was not the only one, it was a difficult day for stroke play. 137 was almost enough, it was a tough wicket to score big on in terms of big shots, both teams struggled with it towards the end of the innings. Sometimes, you set your sights too high, probably we were just 10-15 runs short of having a match-winning score," said Fleming during a virtual post-match press conference.

''That is the difficulty at the moment, trying to assess what the conditions are at three different grounds, there was no lack of intent. We had to stabilise after a couple of mistakes. Delhi bowled well in the last five overs, they were really smart," he added.

Earlier, Ambati Rayudu played an unbeaten knock of 55 runs off 43 balls as CSK posted a total of 136/5 in the allotted 20 overs. For Delhi Capitals, Axar Patel returned with figures of 2-18.

"Yeah, I rather have two defeats now than have two semifinals, if I have a wish list. There were a lot of mistakes from both sides. Sometimes, when you have qualified, things do change. We are trying to maintain the intensity, there were clumsy mistakes from us which was the most disappointing aspect.

''But in terms of the competition, one of the most important things is rebounding. We need to just to get our intensity back as before," said Fleming.

"The pitch if you watched it, it was very difficult. There was inconsistency, Bravo is not someone who bangs the ball in, his changes in pace and yorkers are his key weapons. I thought tactics were sport on. We did it really well," he added.

CSK will next lock horns against Punjab Kings on Thursday at the Dubai International Stadium.

Dhoni upbeat despite defeat

Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised his teammates for taking the game against Delhi Capitals till the last over. Despite CSK scoring 136 in the allotted 20 overs, the match went down the wire both teams fighting hard for the win in the last over.

"It was a very good effort to make a game out of it. Was important not to give too many in the first six. There was one expensive over in the first six, but when quality players are batting it can happen," said Dhoni during the post-match presentation.

"It's a two-paced wicket. It's not like it slowed down drastically. Can't just play your shots. That's what the Delhi batters also faced. I felt the taller bowlers were getting movement," said Dhoni.

Dhoni said the CSK were looking to get close to 150 and that would have been a good score to defend.

"We were looking to get closer to 150. After we lost a few wickets, around the 15-16th over mark the platform was nice. We failed to accelerate. I thought it was a tough pitch. Anything close to 150 would've been a good score," said Dhoni.

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Story first published: Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 10:11 [IST]
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