Eye on MS Dhoni, poser on Ashwin
Will Mahendra Singh Dhoni bat up the order or again go in at No. 7? That certainly will be an area of interest when Chennai Super Kings face a confident Delhi Capitals in their third game of this IPL at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
Dhoni did draw a bit of flak for pushing himself lower down the order when CSK were chasing a daunting target of 217 versus Rajasthan Royals in their previous game. And when he did arrive in the middle, he scored only nine off the first 12 balls he faced, leaving Faf du Plessis to do the job all alone, which was rather impossible as the batters before contributed few runs.
The Dubai pitch isn’t quite a batting belter like that of Sharjah, which suggests the Super Kings need to be careful about sorting out their batting order. Coach Stephen Fleming, however, remains optimistic that Dhoni will do better as the tournament progresses.
“As the tournament goes on, MS will just get better and better. To come in and expect him to get a 30-ball 70 would be a tough ask and we’ve other players also who are in good form and can do a job.
“So, it’s valuing what each player can do and also respecting that Dhoni is one of a kind when he’s in form,” he said.
For Delhi Capitals, winning a cliffhanger right at the onset seems to have given them a lot of confidence, though Ravichandran Ashwin’s availability remains uncertain. Mohammed Kaif, the team’s assistant coach, said on match eve a decision on Ashwin’s inclusion would be taken before the game starts. “Our physio Patrick Farhart will take a call on the matter,” Kaif said.
Senior spinner Amit Mishra, who has taken plenty of wickets in the IPL, could be an option to partner Axar Patel if Ashwin is unable to make it.
The Super Kings batsmen didn’t look too comfortable against the Royals tweakers the other night. So if Ashwin does play, Shreyas Iyer and Co. may find themselves with a good opportunity to make perfect use of the situation.
The good news for CSK is Dwayne Bravo progressing well after missing the first two matches due to injury.