Our players understand their roles and responsibilities: Dhoni in the turnaround

Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni attributed the team’s tremendous turn this IPL season to the players’ hard work and understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

While the three-time CSK finished seventh in the eight-team league last season, the Royal Challengers have moved away from dominating this edition, including their latest six-wicket win over Bangalore.

“Our players worked very hard, understood their roles and responsibilities. Here, the three grounds are different. It’s the slowest (so far) of all. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are different. So the players adapted,”

Dhoni said after a six-wicket win over RCB.

RCB captain Virat Kohli (53) and young Devdut Padikkal (70) scored half-centuries with impressive 111 runs, but CSK pulled the strings and bowled 156 for six after choosing to bowl.

Fam du Plessis top-scored with 31 runs in 18.1 overs to give CSK a solid foundation to crack the short target, while in-form Ruthuraj Gaikwad scored a quick 38.

CSK’s decision to bowl first was driven by the ice factor.

“We were scared of the snow, so we wanted to bat second when there was a chance of snow.

“They got off to a good start but the wicket slowed down after the ninth over. You still have to bowl hard, and the Jadeja spell is important with Padikkal batting from one end.

“After that Bravo, Josh (Hazelwood), Shardul (Thakur), Deepak (Chahar) are awesome. It will always be on your mind which bowler is effective here,” said the former India captain.

Although the RCB got off to a great start, Dhoni brought his years of experience to a turning point.

“I told Moin (Ali) before drinks that he would be bowling soon, but I decided to bowl Bravo. The harder you delay Bravo, the more he ends up bowling four consecutive overs in these difficult conditions.

Making stroke on this track is not very difficult but RCB gave a lot of boundaries to their opponents.

“Looking at the wicket, I thought the left-right combo was important.

“And I think they’re good enough to play in any situation. So we went with the left-right combination, which pushed Raina and Rayudu down.

Dhoni called his long-time CSK teammate Bravo a “brother” who brought them back into the game with a Kohli wicket.

“Bravo has become fit – that’s a very good thing. And he’s running well. I call him my brother.

“We always have fights over whether or not he should throw the ball slowly. But now I tell him that everyone knows he’s going to bowl slow, so I told him to throw six different balls in an over. Whenever he can, he takes charge.”

Admitting that his team had scored too many runs beyond the boundaries, RCB captain Kohli said he was 15-20 runs away from a challenging target. He also said that his bowlers could not take advantage of the situation.

“There may be a total of 175 winners. There were a lot of offers on the pitch but our bowlers could not take advantage. They missed a lot of boundary opportunities. They bowled well in their back end and executed the yorkers when needed,” said Kohli.

“We find it very difficult to get high, and can only keep the bad balls away. We’ve given a lot of boundary balls. We’ve talked about areas where we do not want to hit them, but we can not do that.

“There was no X-factor in the first five overs with the ball. But it was important to run the balls in the crunch moments. Those were the few moments … we could not take advantage of it.”

Despite their seventh consecutive defeat in the UAE (including last season’s results), Kohli is hopeful that things will turn around in the coming days.

“We need to get a successful run again. This game was a lot more frustrating than the first one. We were on top and then gave it all up.”

Man of the match Bravo, who returned an excellent 3/24 in four overs, said he just wanted to keep things simple.

“I try to be competitive. The IPL is the toughest competition in the world. Some days it works for me, some days it doesn’t work. But my pride and love for this game continues to haunt me.

“RCB is a big side, and Virat is a very good player, so it was an important wicket. I wanted to keep it simple. Variations, yorkers, slow balls … stuck to my basics,” Bravo said.

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