Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni defended the decision to promote Ravichandran Ashwin up the batting order after they clinched a closely-fought five-wicket victory over the Rajasthan Royals, in Ranchi on Tuesday.
“We wanted to use Ashwin batting up the order and give him more responsibility. He has batting ability; he can rotate the strike and can go after the spinners. To some extent it paid off… you have to give them chances but at the same time can’t expect them to perform all of a sudden,” said Dhoni at the post-match press conference.
Dhoni also said that even though it was a tricky wicket to bat on, he was convinced that if they could take the match to the final over they would win it. He also praised all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja for hitting a six in the penultimate over that eased pressure on him.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: It was a close win. What we wanted to do was to take the chase right till the final over. Yes, they bowled really well in the last couple of overs to make us stretch a bit. Jadeja hitting the six (in the penultimate over) was crucial as it reduced the pressure.
It was a difficult wicket to score on. Batting wasn’t easy… On a wicket like this, chasing big totals can be difficult. Bowlers can't afford to leak 10-12 runs in an over on such a wicket. We had a few overs like that while bowling and that put pressure on us.
Batting wise, it was a good effort overall. We wanted to use Ashwin up the order and give him more responsibility. He has this ability to bat, he can rotate the strike and can go after the spinners.
To some extent, the move paid off. You have to give them chances, but at the same time can't expect them to perform at the first instance itself.
It is always nice playing in Ranchi. We have played one or two international games here and also the Champions League T20 apart from the IPL. It is one of the beautiful stadiums in India.
Shane Watson: We needed to score more. 148 was a par score or just above par on this wicket. The wicket was low and slow. We knew if we bowl well, we could defend it. We should have bowled better. Moreover, Dhoni has done it all through this tournament and all through his career. He and Jadeja made it tough for us in the end.
I opened the batting today. But my batting position depends upon the conditions and the situation. Now, what's important is the team's victory irrespective of where I bat.
I still feel we put in a good performance. I am happy that we fought till the end. But CSK are always a difficult team to beat.
Ravindra Jadeja (MoM): I like to play on this ground. Whenever I come to Ranchi, I do something special for my team. It was a good wicket to bowl on.
As far as batting is concerned, it is such a wicket where you need to play settle first and then accelerate. My captain kept on telling me that we can do it if we take it to the last over and the last ball.