Chennai Super Kings registered a convincing six-wicket win against Royal Challengers Bangalore thanks to the bowlers choking the death-over momentum all by themselves. Jadeja ran through the motion in the middle overs and put a brake on the run-scoring ante by giving away only three boundaries in total.
Dwayne Bravo and Shardul Thakur took clues from that performance and utilized the dew factor to their advantage. MS Dhoni thus credited his premier all-rounder for handling the situation brilliantly and gave insights about his own thinking of utilizing Bravo and Moeen Ali in the middle overs.
“We were worried about the dew and we saw that last season. They got off to a great start and after the eighth or ninth over, the pitch slowed down a bit. Jadeja's spell was very crucial especially with the way Padikkal was batting from one end,” Dhoni said in the post-match presentation.
“I told Moeen that he would bowl from one end during drinks, but then I changed my mind. I decided Bravo should bowl because the more you delayed him, the more difficult it was given that he'd have to bowl four straight overs in these difficult conditions. Our players have worked hard and understood their roles and responsibilities.”
CSK brought an end to their Sharjah drought where they had lost three games last season. With the win over RCB tonight, they also secured their fifth consecutive win in UAE, setting them up for a pole finish on the points table. However, Dhoni felt that all three grounds are different, thus the side needs to be very prudent with their planning around the impact of dew.
“This is the slowest wicket (so far) of all. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are different. So the players have been adapting. Looking at the wicket, I felt the left-right combo was important. We bat deep, we have a lot of left-handers, so in the back of the head its there. And I feel all of them are good enough to play in any position. That's why we went with the left-right combination, which may have pushed Raina and Rayudu down,” the CSK skipper added.
One of the most acclaimed death-over bowlers in T20 history, Bravo might seem a spent force but the IPL always brings the best out of him. With the wicket being on the slower side, Bravo used his slower balls to perfection to end up with the Player of the Match Award. Dhoni revealed that they had planned to bowl different variations in that over to confuse the batters.
“Bravo has turned up fit - that's a very good thing. And he is executing well. I call him my brother. We always have fights over whether he should bowl the slower ball. But I told him that now everyone knows he bowls slower balls, so I told him to bowl six different balls in one over. Whenever he can, he takes up responsibilities,” Dhoni concluded.