Dhoni’s effort to restore pride
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has conceded to being hurt at the way Chennai Super Kings’ IPL campaign has hurtled from one disaster to another but ruled out benching himself from the remaining three games, saying “a captain can’t run away”.
CSK are all but out of the reckoning from a playoffs spot as they meet Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai on Sunday.
Dhoni said the three remaining games would be an exercise in restoring pride and understanding how the side should plan for the next season. “We have to make the most of the next three games and it is good preparation for the next year. Identify the batsmen, who will bowl at the death and hopefully the players will soak up the pressure,” he said after the 10-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians on Friday.
“Captain can’t run away, so I’ll be playing in all the games,” he added.
CSK have just six points from 11 matches and are at the bottom of the points table. Dhoni said several factors have contributed to the dismal run.
“... It hasn’t been our year. Whether you lose by 8 or 10 wickets, it hardly matters, but where we are at this stage of the tournament, it does
hurt. What you need to see is where we actually went wrong, right from the second game,” he said.
“There can be a 100 reasons, but one of the main things you ask yourself is whether you’ve played to the potential you’ve got. When you put a good team on paper, have we done enough to back up the stats? And this year we haven’t.”
The former India captain said luck also did not favour CSK this time. “It was more about the bowling. Rayudu got injured, the other batsman were maybe not there 200 per cent and in cricket when you’re going through a tough phase, you need a bit of luck.”
“The games we wanted to bat first, we haven’t won the toss, and there’s no dew and all of a sudden when we bat first there’s dew,” he said.
RCB, on the other hand, have grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed. Kohli’s men are placed third on the points table with 14 points, the same as table toppers Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals. They will aim to grab the two points on offer, while also trying to improve their net run-rate, which could play a vital role in deciding the top two teams heading to the playoffs.
RCB are coming on the back of two morale-boosting victories against Rajasthan Royals and Kokata Knight Riders. While AB de Villiers single-handedly fetched them the win against the Royals, pacer Mohammed Siraj tormented KKR.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings, Dubai (3.30pm IST)
Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians, Abu Dhabi (7.30pm IST)