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Death bowling a concern: Dhoni

Ravindra Jadeja

Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni praised his team’s all-round effort after CSK beat the Rajasthan Royals by seven runs, in Dubai, on Wednesday.

Dhoni specifically praised Dwayne Smith, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishwar Pandey. However, he also made it clear that his side is missing the services of West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, especially Bravo the death bowler.

“The shape of the team is looking good, but death bowling still remains an area of concern. Over the last few editions of the IPL, it was Dwayne Bravo who was responsibly carrying out the duties of a death bowler for us. He is also a brilliant hitter of the ball. So his absence will definitely be felt,” he said at the post-match presentation.

Jadeja said that he was enjoying his bowling more than batting, as he was able to extract turn from the slow pitch here.

“The wicket was getting lower and slower and the odd ball was turning. So we knew 140 was a defendable total. All I tried to do was to bowl in the right areas and it paid rich dividends,” Jadeja, who hit a crucial 36 not out and grabbed four wickets for 33 runs, said after the match.

Excerpts

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Apart from the last couple of overs when their last batsman came in, it was an even contest. As the game progressed, the wicket got more and more slower which made it hard for the Rajasthan Royals batsmen to go for their shots. Ishwar Pandey bowled the perfect length on this wicket and was well supported by the other bowlers, especially Jadeja.

However, at the start of the match the pitch was behaving differently, especially when Smith was batting. One must have seen that the batsmen were hitting the ball from the top half of their bats rather than the middle. There was a fair bit of bounce.

The shape of the team is looking good, but death bowling still remains an area of concern. Over the last few editions of the IPL, it was Dwayne Bravo who was responsibly carrying out the duties of a death bowler for us. He is also a brilliant hitter of the ball.

So his absence will definitely be felt. But at the same time, we have a lot of good players and it’s just about getting the right combination at the death, and we trying to figure it out. Overall, the batsmen have put up good scores and the bowlers have backed them up.

Shane Watson: It was a very disappointing performance from us. The target was not very big and it was the matter of just one decent partnership. We weren’t able to get that.

However, I am happy with our bowling performance. We did a pretty good job with the ball against a high quality batting unit. It doesn’t often happen that someone goes crazy like Smith, especially after an early wicket. He is very dynamic and it was very fortunate that he hit those four boundaries after the loss of the early wicket.

It is a learning curve for us and we have to bat better next time. People have been talking about me batting up the order, but for now I am comfortable at No. 4. It’s something we were talking about and we will do definitely something if it is in the team’s interest.

We’re trying to execute wide yorkers and in the process we are conceding a few wides, but that’s okay.

Ravindra Jadeja (MoM): Both my bowling and batting gave me enough joy today. However, my bowling was more enjoyable. As far as batting is concerned, when I went out to bat the situation was a bit tight... So I had to play till the last ball and fortunately I did. We had to score some useful runs and I am happy that I was able to do that.

The wicket was getting lower and slower and the odd ball was turning. So we knew 140 was a defendable total. All I tried to do was to bowl in the right areas and it paid rich dividends.

I know Shikhar Dhawan has been growing his moustache for some time now, so am I. Let’s see who will win the title in the end.