Slow pitches help CSK: Dhoni after Chennai's 20-run win over SRH

After posting a competitive total of 167 for the loss of six wickets, Chennai's spinners choked Hyderabad in the run chase as it restricted the opposition to 147 for the loss of eight wickets.

CSK skipper MS Dhoni celebrates with Faf du Plessis after Chennai registered a 20-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday.   -  IPL

MS Dhoni's decision to include three spinners in the Playing XI paid rich dividends as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) stayed alive in the tournament with a 20-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).

After posting a competitive total of 167 for the loss of six wickets, Chennai's spinners choked Hyderabad in the run chase as it restricted the opposition to 147 for the loss of eight wickets.

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At the start, IPL 2020 witnessed some high-scoring encounters. But, as the tournament progressed, the wickets have slowed down, allowing spin heavy teams like Chennai to bounce back after suffering setbacks.

"To an extent, yes these pitches help CSK. But we used an extra spinner because an Indian batter hasn't done well for us," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.

Piyush Chawla replaced N Jagadeesan in the line-up, that already had Ravindra Jadeja and Karn Sharma and Dhoni defended his decision of playing an extra spinner.

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"That's why Sam Curran went up and it wasn't fair on Jagadeesan as well to bat at seven or eight. Sam Curran is a complete cricketer for us. You need a seaming all-rounder, he plays the spinners well and he can give us those 15-45 runs. A good left armer is always good to have in the side.

"You keep wondering whether the ball would come in or leave the batsman. As the tournament progresses we'll get more comfortable with the death bowling, which is why we kept Sam away from the death and Thakur and Bravo took over," the CSK skipper said.

Chennai entered the match in a must-win situation and pocketed two crucial points to remain in the hunt for a playoffs berth.

Speaking on the win, Dhoni said, "Ultimately what really matters is you getting two points. What T20s have shown is that there are a few games that don't go your way and then there are some that go your way even when you haven't earned it.

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"Today I felt we did a very good job even in the batting. There was some purpose with the bat and the batsmen assessed the situation very well. With a total like 160, it all depends on the start you get in the first six overs. The fast bowlers did the job, the spinners came into play and it was one game that was as close to being perfect."

" It was a par score and I usually assess scores after the first six overs. If there are misfields in the first six overs then a par score becomes an under par score. A lot depended on the fast bowlers. I just told them to be expressive on the field and hit their areas," he added.

Chennai was off to a poor start after losing its openers early inside the PowerPlay. However, Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu did the repair job and built a platform for the rest to explode.

Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu perished in quick intervals after rebuilding Chennai's innings. Sunrisers squeezed in some tight overs, but it was Ravindra Jadeja who exploded with the bat in the final overs with a 10-ball 25 to lift Chennai to 167.

Ravindra Jadeja contributed with both bat and ball to win the Man-of-the-Match award.   -  IPL


Jadeja contributed with the ball too, dismissing a well-set Jonny Bairstow and then taking two excellent catches at crucial junctures.

"Very happy to contribute with both bat and ball. I was backing myself and I was only looking to see the ball and hit the ball without pre-planning. The wicket looks on the slower side so I was just looking to bowl into the stumps rather than give them room," Jadeja, who was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match said. 

"It is a difficult wicket for batsmen. I take great pleasure in my fielding, and whenever I field, I always look for a good run-out or a catch for the team," he added.

Losing skipper David Warner rued on the fact that the team missed on an extra batsman.

"The wicket was on the slower side, I think we needed an extra batter. We tried to take it deep. You got one big boundary, so it's not easy. We have to go back to the drawing board and work on few areas. I thought 160 was the right total to go after, but anything above that was always going to be difficult. Having 6-7 bowlers in the team helps.

"It's difficult to play against bowlers who can swing the ball. There's always a challenge in the powerplay, but you have to take on the bowlers. We need to monitor the wickets in the upcoming games and select the team accordingly," Warner said.

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