MS Dhoni’s stellar finish in Qualifier of the IPL 2021 on Sunday (October 10) has brought a comment made on him Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting under the firing line.
As the Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) legendary skipper and batter hit a vintage end-overs cameo in Dubai, Ponting’s remarks made on him from last year is suddenly in the spotlight.
In April 2020, Ponting told news.com.au that one of his aims as coach when DC plays CSK will be to ensure his team doesn’t allow Dhoni to yield his willow and win a game on his own against them in the IPL. But Dhoni absolutely crushed those hopes with some scintillating strokes to take his team to the IPL 2021 final.
“I’m looking forward to coaching against MS Dhoni now and making sure he doesn’t win any game off his own bat when Chennai play the Delhi Capitals,” Ponting was quoted as saying in a piece where he actually talked in praise of Dhoni’s greatness and spoke of the man’s different leadership.
MS Dhoni rewinds the clock with another great finish
Ponting did look in dismay from the dugout when MS Dhoni got into his own against DC’s Avesh Khan and Tom Curran at the death. Walking into bat with CSK needing a further 24 runs off the remaining 11 deliveries, Dhoni blasted 18 runs off the six balls he faced.
Dhoni made a surprising move to bat ahead of the more in-form Ravindra Jadeja but ultimately ended the night having proved his doubters wrong. The great batter struck Avesh for a six in the penultimate over and then backed that up with three fours against Curran when CSK needed to make 13 off 6.
What made the nostalgic finish that much more amazing is that hardly anyone was backing Dhoni to finish off the game in such style because of his extended rough patch with the bat. The 40-year-old had made only 96 runs from his 14 innings of the league stage at a strike-rate of just over 100. But he rose to the occasion when his team needed it the most, helping them secure a place in the tournament final.
Talking about his knock after the win, MS Dhoni recognised his innings as a “crucial one” and said he was not overly worried about his extended rut since “I was batting well in the nets” and focused on approaching each ball with a clear head.
“My innings was a crucial one. Delhi has a very good bowling attack. They exploited the conditions well, so we knew it would be tough. I’ve not done a lot in the tournament, so wanted to look for the ball and see what the bowler can do,” he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“I was batting well in the nets. But wasn’t thinking too much, if you think too much while batting then you mess your plans up,” Dhoni added.