CHENNAI : Chennai Super Kings batsman Suresh Raina attributed teamwork and the return of skipper MS Dhoni as the main reasons after his side’s splendid show against Delhi Capitals on Wednesday, which saw the hosts win by 80 runs. The former India skipper had to miss two games due to back spasm and fever.
The left-hander felt Chennai missed Dhoni the batsman more than the captain. “Losing Dhoni as a captain is not an issue, losing him as a batsman is. That’s why we struggled against Hyderabad and Mumbai. I think he gives a lot of freedom to other players. When he comes to the crease it creates a lot of pressure on other teams. When he is not in the side, you can see the difference for yourself,’’ explained Raina.
Raina said the ploy at Chepauk is to preserve wickets. “Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis played carefully. It’s important to have wickets in hand in Chennai. When you have hitters like Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja, you can score the extra 30-40 runs. Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Jadeja bowled well and complimented our batsman,” said Raina.
“It’s important to play smart cricket in Chennai. The game starts after the sixth over here. In the powerplay, if you see the last two games which we won against Hyderabad and against Delhi, you can see that we hadn’t done well in the first three overs.”
The UP-based player praised Dhoni’s glovework against Delhi. “He made two brilliant stumpings. It shows how compact he is. I remember that in 2004, Syed Kirmani spoke highly of his skills. They used to say his skill lies in his brain. He just knows which ball is turning from the middle stump and which one is turning from the leg stump. That’s why his hand speed is so amazing. It shows his involvement in the game. Spinners can flight the ball knowing that MS is behind the stumps,” said Raina.
Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer said the defeat was a reality check for his team ahead of the playoffs and backed Rishabh Pant to continue with his natural game. “After the kind of start we got (52/2 at one stage), we should have at least reached close to the target. We need to assess where we went wrong and come back strongly. Pant has won matches for us this season. A batsman like him can turn the momentum with one innings. I wouldn’t want to curb his style. I like the way he bats,’’ opined Iyer.Friday’s match: KXIP vs KKRLive on Star Sports 2 @ 8 pm