CSK vs RR IPL 2023: MS Dhoni blames middle-order batters, strike rotation as reason for defeat

Chasing 176 against a quality spin-bowling attack from Royals, CSK could only muster 172 for the loss of 6 wickets as their inspirational captain MS Dhoni failed to finish it off in style, this time around.

With 21 needed off the last six deliveries, Dhoni did his best against experienced pacer Sandeep Sharma and brought the equation down to 7 off three. But the right-arm seamer from Punjab bowled three good deliveries on the trot to stun the hysteric Chennai crowd.

The crowd – which was completely in support of the home team and painted the stadium yellow – arrived in huge numbers to watch their favourite cricketer, MS Dhoni, lead CSK for the 200th time in IPL. However, the landmark game fell just a little short of a fairytale finish.

While dissecting his team’s loss, their first against RR in 15 years, Dhoni didn’t mince any words and blamed the lull period in the middle overs as the main reason.

MS Dhoni on CSK’s defeat vs RR in IPL 2023

Dhoni, who scored 32 off 17 balls, claimed that the fate of the match was decided between the seventh to 15th over in which Devon Conway (50 off 38 balls), Shivam Dube (8 off 9 balls) and Moeen Ali (7 off 10 balls) couldn’t get going against the spin troika of R Ashwin (2/25) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/27) and Impact Substitute Adam Zampa (1/43).

“There was not a lot in it for spinners, but in the middle period, there were too many dot balls. If the (ball) is stopping and turning off the surface, then it is fine. But that was not the case here,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

“We (him and Ravindra Jadeja) were the last batting pair, early in the tournament, you can’t go hard, keeping the NRR in mind as there were too many overs to go. We kept it slightly late in the middle overs. We could have taken more singles. And we couldn’t go hard immediately,” the former India captain said.

On hitting three big sixes, Dhoni said that he waited for the bowler to commit mistakes. “I don’t fancy too many things. I just wait for the bowlers to commit a few errors. The bowler was slightly under pressure in the last over. You need to back yourself. My strength is to look to hit straight.”

Dhoni – who made use of all the loose deliveries from Royals’ bowlers in the death overs – said he was also disappointed that his batters couldn’t cash in on the dew factor.

Dhoni said, “We saw the amount of dew, and after the first few overs, it became relatively easy. We should have done better with the bat.

“Overall, the bowlers did well. [On 200 games as captain] I am not big on milestones. How does it matter if it is 199 or 200. It is a compliment to play 200 games. Thanks to almighty. But as I said nothing special.”

Samson on RR win and MS Dhoni’s knock

Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson – who is the first captain after legendary Shane Warne to breach fortress Chepauk for the Jaipur-based franchise – credited his side’s bowlers for staying calm even as the match became tense towards the end.

“The bowlers kept their cool at the end and bowled really well, we also held on to our catches. I don’t have good memories at Chepauk, never won here and wanted to win today.

On Dhoni’s quick-fire innings, Samson said “Last two overs were tensed, I tried to push it deep but you are never safe with that guy (Dhoni). You have to have respect for that guy and to what he can do. Nothing works against him.”

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