RCB vs CSK: Why Dhoni refused singles in the 19th over

CSK needed 36 runs in the last two overs with Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo in the middle. Eyebrows were raised when Dhoni refused three singles in the penultimate over, bowled by Navdeep Saini, with the asking rate hovering around the 17 runs per over mark.

There were more than a few raised eyebrows when M.S. Dhoni refused three singles with Dwayne Bravo at the other end during Sunday’s narrow one-run defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore. But the Chennai Super Kings skipper, who has turned such close chases into a patented art form, stuck to his decision.

“Right now you can calculate — two runs over there, one run over there, and we are through because we lost by one run,” explained Dhoni in the post-match interaction. “But at the same time what you have to see is what if there were few dot balls, whether we could have got those extra boundaries or not.”

Read: CSK falls short despite Dhoni blitz

Dhoni’s reading was that it was a difficult pitch to bat on, especially for a new batsman coming in. “I think it was still difficult at the death. If you bowled back of a length, it was slightly spongy and it was not really coming on to the bat, which meant the new batsman would have also found it slightly difficult. So if I've played so many deliveries, I can afford to take that risk. I think in 10 or 12 deliveries we needed close to 36 or 40 runs which meant a lot of boundaries were required.”


CSK's Shardul Thakur was run out in the last ball of the match, handing RCB a 1-run win.   -  IPL

Coach Stephen Fleming too backed Dhoni. “He is so calculated that I would never question the last part of the innings of MS Dhoni,” the Kiwi said. “Yes, Bravo’s got power, but if MS has got the feeling that he’s going to win it this way, then back him every time. He’s done it so many times.”

Also read: When Dhoni's magic took CSK home, nearly

“The way he calculates the last few overs based on his power, he would’ve looked at it saying I need four-five sixes to win the game. And as it panned out, it was pretty close. So I’d never question that.”

Fleming instead praised Umesh Yadav, who, after getting clobbered for 24 runs in the first five deliveries, ensured Dhoni wouldn’t put bat to ball off the sixth. “That was just great cricket. It was well-bowled. You’ve got to say great option from the bowler, and a great play from [Parthiv] Patel.”