Dhoni Explains Why He’s Batting Down the Order

Captain defends position

Mahendra Singh Dhoni batting for India

Captain MS Dhoni has defended the decision to bat as low as seventh position in the order during Tuesday's defeat to the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

Batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad and all-rounder Sam Curran batted ahead of Dhoni, who later arrived at the crease and struck a brisk 29 not out in 17 deliveries in Chennai's failed pursuit of a 217-run target.

Prior to this year's IPL, Dhoni hadn't played competitive cricket since the 2019 World Cup in United Kingdom.

“Oh I haven't batted for a very long time,” he told Star.

“I'm slowly trying to get into the tournament. Also at the same time, we want to try a few different things like Sam or Jadeja, sending them up.

“It's something we haven't done for a very long time and this gives us an opportunity to do that, at the start of the tournament. And as the tournament progresses you'll see the senior players stepping in and taking that responsibility.

“But otherwise Chennai have been one team that has kept doing the same thing. I feel we have an opportunity over here where we can try a few different things if it works. If it doesn't work, we can always go back to what our strengths are.”

Fleming Backs Dhoni Decision

Head coach Stephen Fleming echoed Dhoni's sentiment. He also noted the importance of South African star Faf du Plessis, whose attacking 72 from 37 deliveries kept the Super Kings in contention for a lengthy period.

“We have this question every year. Dhoni was in in the 14th over, which is pretty much optimal time, and sort of batted accordingly. He is coming back from not playing a huge amount of cricket, so the expectations – to see him at his best – is going to take some time.

“But you see him towards the end, he was very good. Faf carried the form, so we weren't too far away. It wasn't the batting that was the worry to be honest.”

The victory took the Royals to the top of the eight-team standings for the IPL 2020. Rajasthan won the tournament in 2008. Their captain is Australian batsman Steven Smith.

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