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‘MS Dhoni entertained, who cares if CSK win or lose?’: Sehwag refuses to debate on MSD’s batting spot after loss vs GT

MS Dhoni batted at no.8 during CSK’s defeat against Gujarat Titans on Friday.

Chennai Super Kings faced a sixth defeat of the season on Friday, as Gujarat Titans returned to winning ways with a 35-run victory in Ahmedabad. Shubman Gill and Sai Sudharsan scored brilliant centuries to take GT to 231/3, and the hosts then restricted the Super Kings to 196/8 to clinch a much-needed win to stay alive in the race for playoffs.

Chennai Super Kings’ MS Dhoni arrives to bat during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium(AFP)

The CSK openers found themselves back in the pavilion with just two runs on the board in the chase, as even their standout performer this season, skipper Rituraj Gaikwad, failed to make an impact, departing for a duck. The dismissal left the defending champions reeling at 10/3.

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However, Daryl Mitchell and Moeen Ali took charge, staging a remarkable fightback with a 109-run partnership. The duo launched a blistering attack to bring the equation down to 113 required of 48 deliveries when Mohit Sharma intervened, claiming crucial wickets of the duo as well as the aggressive Shivam Dube. Rashid later joined the party, dismissing Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner, leaving CSK in a precarious position.

MS Dhoni, then, arrived at no.8 and produced a valiant effort, highlighted by three towering sixes in the final over. While his innings certainly did excite the fans, it wasn’t enough to salvage the match for CSK. Many have spoken about Dhoni’s batting position throughout IPL 2024; in their previous match against Punjab Kings, Dhoni batted at no.9, leaving many scratching their heads at CSK’s tactics.

Virender Sehwag opened up on Dhoni’s batting position following CSK’s defeat, stating that the debate surrounding his number should end. Sehwag said that CSK know best about their players but insisted that Dhoni, with his form, shouldn’t be batting this low.

“We should end the debate around MS Dhoni’s batting position. He knows what he wants to do. It’s his wish. But if you want to win the match, the form he is in, and the strike rate that he’s batting at… the other batters need to play at a similar level. It felt today that Mitchell and Ali couldn’t match Sudharsan and Gill. Someone has to score a 100. Or Jadeja and Dube had to score a 20-ball fifty to get close to the target,” Sehwag said.

“I don’t want to get into the debate. Wherever he bat, it’s fine. He played fine, entertained the public, who cares if they win or lose? He entertained public, that’s it,” Sehwag further said.

What Fleming said about Dhoni’s batting position

Fleming asked people not to underestimate Dhoni’s influence on the team. He added that the team management will maximise what the 42-year-old can give to the franchise.

“Like just hitting sixes and fours, which he has done pretty well. And keep as well as some of the best in the competition if not the best in the competition. So don’t underestimate his influence on the team just because he comes in at No. 9. There’s a timing aspect, but we’re very wary of what he can give us. And we’ll max that out,” Fleming was quoted by ESPNcricinfo as saying.

He also pointed out that CSK don’t want to put much pressure on Dhoni where they will lose him from injury. The head coach said that the wicketkeeper-batter is “okay”.

“But we don’t want to max that out where we lose him. So it’s a delicate balance, but trust me, his best interest is with us, and his interest [is] in performing well for us is still very high. To put the nation at ease – he’s okay,” he added.

(With inputs from PTI)


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