IPL 2021: ‘Quite Easy to Stay Calm in a Game Like This’ – MS Dhoni Explains Mantra After Thriller vs KKR

After a thrilling high-scoring IPL 2021 encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders which they won by 18 runs, Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni joked that it was easy for him to stay calm in tense moments as the contest was between the bowler and the batsman. CSK had posted 220 for 3 and seemed set for a big win when they reduced KKR to 31 for 5, but Andre Russell and Pat Cummins, along with Dinesh Karthik, produced a stupendous fightback to bring KKR to 202 all out in 19.1 overs.

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“Quite easy to stay calm in a game like this. From the 15th-16th over onwards the contest was between the fast bowler and the batsman. You can’t do too much. Can’t put different field. It’s about you vs me (batsman vs bowler),” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation. “The side that has won is possibly a side that has executed slightly better. But if they would’ve had more wickets, could’ve been different. You never know if they had played the full 20 overs.”

Dhoni said 220 was a good score, but was clear it didn’t guarantee them a win.

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“I have seen enough in cricket, always like to be humble. There’s no good reason if you have scored 220, the opposition can’t score. My lines to the players was that we have got good runs on the board but let’s be humble.”

Deepak Chahar bagged four early wickets to reduce KKR. It set up the win, but Dhoni said in jest that it’s not always good to get too many early wickets. Reason: it gives more time to the likes of Andre Russell.

“You don’t want to take too many early wickets! Big hitters coming in, 200 runs, there’s only one way they’ll play. Not much you can do. The only option was Jadeja if it was turning, the ball was stopping. But other than that there’s nothing much you can do.”

Dhoni also lauded Ruturaj Gaikwad’s batting, saying he has the basics to make it big. Gaikwad had made 64 off 42 after three failures in the tournament.

“The batting has been really good. Rutu is somebody who has shown his class in the last IPL. You always need to assess where he is mentally. Once when he was off guard, I just asked him how are you feeling today. When you put a question like that, you wait for the reactions, you see what’s in his eyes. There was enough in his reactions to suggest he wasn’t rattled. He has the basics to make it big. What would have helped him is the first few games last year.”

Asked about his philosophical approach, he said: “That’s what I’ve been doing all my life! But in a good way.”

Chahar, who got 4 for 27, said: “I am just trying to bowl straight balls and it is swinging. It was a good wicket to bowl on, the ball was swinging and seaming. I didn’t pick a lot of wickets last year and I realised later that when I’m bowling the first over I have the responsibility and if I get 1-2 wickets in the powerplay, the tone is set.

“The dew came in, the ball was coming on nicely, some good batting by Russell and we also bowled some bad balls, so it was a combination of everything. Even the cutters Sam was bowling were coming onto the bat. I was thinking we should not lose this match, they were batting really well and at one point needed 40 off 20 balls which is very gettable on this ground. It is always good to win matches like this in the group stage as you learn a lot of things.”

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