Chennai Super Kings outclassed Rajasthan Royals by 45 runs in Match 12 of the Indian Premier League 2021 on Monday (April 19) but MS Dhoni didn't shy away from accepting the fact that he struggled to get going in the first half of his innings. The wicketkeeper-batsman scored only one off his first six deliveries before eventually getting dismissed for 18 off 17.
“Glad we scored 180, I thought we could have got a few more. This was one of the games where the first six balls I played could have cost us in another game. We have to be mindful of that and score as much as possible,” he said at the post-match presentation.
"There was slightly less dew than the usual. I felt we should have scored more and try to get as many as possible. A lot has changed over the years and right from the start we kept a very good atmosphere and a lot of the bowlers have been under the pump last year but this time they are enjoying bowling on these wickets."
Dhoni also said that it is hard to "keep up" with younger players in the squad but it will be a "big positive" for the 39-year-old if they are not able to point fingers at him over his fitness.
"When you are playing, you don't really want anyone to say he's unfit. I have to keep up with the younger guys, they are very fast, it's good to challenge them. Performances are something that's guaranteed. I wasn't guaranteeing performances when I was 24. I can't guarantee when I am 40, but at least if people can't point finger at me that he's unfit then that will be a big positive for me."
Meanwhile, RR captain Sanju Samson said he thought it was a good score to chase down but his side lost too many wickets in the middle overs.
"Our bowlers bowled really well, they batted too deep. 10-15 runs extra we gave down the line. We never expected that (turn), the dew didn't come and the ball was still turning, so it was a bit shocking to see. It's very important to maintain a good composure, this format demands us to score at a higher risk rate; hence, it's very normal to get out often."
Moeen Ali, who was named Player of the Match, said he is happy with the way he has performed in this season. The all-rounder from England scored vital 26 runs against Rajasthan before scalping three wickets at the expense of just seven runs.
"My job here is to try and score as many runs for the team and get a good start. When I went up the order, it wasn't any easy wicket and I'm pleased with both the departments. I thought as a team we played really well and everyone contributed. Once the left-handers came in I knew I had a good chance of bowling whenever the captain needs me. I feel it's a good wicket for the spinners and if you land the ball in the right areas you've always got a chance," said Moeen.