IPL 2020 : Dhoni clears why he batted at No. 7, ‘I haven’t batted for long time, 14-day quarantine didn’t help’

Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni has given reason on why he had demoted himself to number 7 position in the batting order against Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday.

According to Dhoni, the extended two-week quarantine of CSK hampered his preparations as he did not get enough time for batting practice, said captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after his side lost to Rajasthan Royals by 16 runs in their second IPL game.

Dhoni came in to bat at No. 7, sending the likes of Sam Curran and Kedar Jadhav ahead of him in a mammoth 217-run chase on Tuesday.

Asked why he came so low in the order, the CSK captain said, “I haven’t batted for a long time. 14-day quarantine doesn’t help.”

Read more: IPL 2020 : Gambhir slams MS Dhoni, ‘Why Dhoni came to bat at No. 7’ ?

Dhoni’s reference was to CSK’s extra one-week quarantine after 13 people in their contingent tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in missing out on important training sessions. He was not out on 29 off 17 balls with three sixes in the last over.

IPL 2020 : Gambhir slams MS Dhoni, ‘Why Dhoni came to bat at No. 7’ ?

Earlier, Dhoni’s former teammate Gautam Gambhir had criticized him for demoting himself to number 7. With CSK chasing 217, why did the biggest hitter of all time for CSK came to bat @ No.7 ? Dhoni’s former India teammate Gautam Gambhir criticizing the move has called it an “absolute miscalculation”.

According to Gambhir, it was surprising to see Dhoni coming to bat at number 7 with CSK chasing 217 for the win.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Gambhir said Dhoni’s move to bat at 7 does not ‘make any sense’. Dhoni came in during the 14th over of the Super Kings’ chase, with his team needing 103 off 38 balls and a struggling Faf du Plessis on 17 off 18 balls at the other end.

“I was a bit surprised to be honest,” Gambhir said.

“MS Dhoni batting at No. 7? And sending [Ruturaj] Gaikwad before him, Sam Curran before him. Makes no sense to me. In fact you should be leading from the front. And this is not what you call leading from the front. Batting at No. 7 when you’re chasing what… 213 [217]? The game was over. Faf was probably the lone warrior.

“Yes, you can talk about MS Dhoni’s last over [when he hit three sixes], but it was of no use to be honest. It was just all personal runs.”

IPL 2020 : CSK Coach Stephen Fleming defends the move of Dhoni batting at 7

Gambhir and CSK fans were left shocked with Dhoni holding himself back till so late. But coach Stephen Fleming in his post match interview as expected has defended the move.

“MS is a specialist at the end of the innings, always has been,” Fleming said. “Curran was there to try and hit us and keep us in the game at that point when we were falling behind. He’s got good hitting power like we saw. Ruturaj… it was his first game and we wanted to get him into the game, into the order. We wanted to be aggressive, we’ve got a long batting order and we’re just trying to use our resources smartly.”

Gambhir and millions of CSK’s fans will not be satisfied with what Fleming’s lame defense.

“See, if someone else would have done this, some other [batsman] captain had batted No. 7, he would have got a lot of flak. It is MS Dhoni – probably why people don’t talk about it,” Gambhir said. “When you don’t have Suresh Raina, you’re making people believe that Sam Curran is better than you. You’re making people believe that Ruturaj Gaikwad, Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, all these guys, are better than you.”

Dhoni in the last over ended up with hitting 3 consecutive sixes but Gambhir has called them ‘personal runs’, which was of no use to the team.

Indeed they were of no use as CSK ended up losing the game to depleted Rajasthan Royals unit by 16 runs.

Read more: IPL 2020 : Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings match equals most sixes record in IPL game