Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming stated after the IPL game against the Rajasthan Royals that the decision to send MS Dhoni at number 7, after the likes of Sam Curran, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Kedar Jadhav, was done in order to use their batting resources smartly.
Dhoni walked in to bat midway through the 14th over, with CSK requiring 103 off 38 balls. Fleming, upon being asked about what the expectation was by sending Dhoni at 7 below the above trio, he said, “MS is a specialist towards the end of the innings, always has been. Curran was there trying to hit and keep us in the game at that point when we were falling behind. He’s got good hitting power as we saw.
“Rituraj…it was his first game and we wanted to get him into the game into the order. We wanted to be aggressive, we’ve got a long batting order and we’re just trying to use our resources smartly.
“We have this question every year. He was in in the 12th (14th) over, which is pretty much optimal time, and sort of batted accordingly. He is coming back from not playing a huge amount of cricket, so the expectations – to see him at his best – is gonna take some time. But you see him towards the end, he was very good. Faf du Plessis carried the form, so we weren’t too far away. It wasn’t the batting that was the worry, to be honest,” added Fleming.
Dhoni himself admitted that the reason behind him misfiring yesterday was down to not having batted in a competitive Cricket match for over a year. He said in the post-match presentation, “I haven’t batted for a long time; 14-day quarantine doesn’t help. Also wanted to try different things, give opportunities to Sam. Have the opportunity to try different things. If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to your strengths. Faf adapted very well. Something the batsmen will do, neglect square leg, and go more towards long-on and long-off.”