Faf's experience made the difference: MS
Heartbreak for Sunrisers as CSK survive a scare to clinch thriller, make final
Calcutta: Mahendra Singh Dhoni hailed Faf du Plessis’s experience after the South Africa captain, who had played just four matches in IPL XI going into Tuesday’s Qualifier I at the Wankhede, hit an unbeaten 67 that took Chennai Super Kings to the final.
Speaking at the post-match presentation after his team’s two-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, the CSK skipper said: “Faf's innings is where experience counts. It’s not easy when you come in after not getting too many games, but I always say you need to train your mind more than the body. That’s where the experience comes in. And thatexperience made the difference.
“You visualise what your role is, how you can contribute, and Faf has been brilliant in that. He batted really well. Hopefully, he can continue like this in the final also.”
For Du Plessis, reflecting on how he has played on the previous occasions in Mumbai helped him gain confidence as he went out to bat. Importantly, it was at the Wankhede when he smashed 133 as South Africa amassed 438 for four and beat India by 214 runs to wrap up the ODI series 3-2 back in October 2015.
“It’s nice to make a contribution, especially after you haven’t played much. But when I was preparing for this game, I reflected on the matches I’ve played here in Mumbai. It’s a stadium where I’ve enjoyed batting, so I took confidence from that,” Du Plessis said.
“I just got into the change room now and said, ‘How did we win that game’? It felt just a little out of reach.
“It was great that guys came in and hit a few boundaries in the end. Everything went our way towards the end on a wicket which wasn’t easy to bat on,” he added.
The atmosphere in the dressing room too has played a part in CSK establishing themselves as one of the most successful teams of the IPL, Dhoni emphasised. “We’ve been a very good team and it reflects when it comes to the IPL.
“It reflects the dressing room atmosphere we’ve been able to create. And it’s not possible without the management, players and support staff. Even if just one of them is lacking, you can’t have a good dressing room atmosphere.
“If the atmosphere is not good, it becomes difficult to perform and players go to different directions. Somehow we’ve been able to push the players into thinking about what’s good for the team and keep them on track,” Dhoni elaborated.
Talking further about the thrilling win, Dhoni added: “We are always happy when we win. Being among the top two gives you that liberty to have one more game. If we would’ve lost this match, we still would give ourselves a second chance.
“They (Sunrisers) bowled very well, and there was a bit for the fast bowlers on the pitch. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) bowled well and backed up well by Rashid (Khan).
“We kept losing wickets, so we had to push ourselves. Losing three-four wickets in the middle always puts the team under pressure. Plus, they have a mystery bowler.
“Nonetheless, it’s good to win a game like this, but what’s more important, is knowing how we can improve.”
Dhoni also stressed the need to use different bowlers at different stages of the competition for the purpose of testing them. “Our bowling combination is the best we have and from the beginning, I’ve been using different players at different stages to test them.”