‘I Was Pretty Sure Dhoni Would Come Ahead Of Jadeja’ – Ponting

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - 'I was pretty sure Dhoni would come ahead of Jadeja' - Ponting. CSK won the first qualifier with two balls to spare.

‘I Was Pretty Sure Dhoni Would Come Ahead Of Jadeja’ – PontingCSK won the first qualifier with two balls to spare.

“It's not always right, it's not always wrong. It's trying to get a gut feel on where players could make maximum impact,” was Stephen Fleming's explanation of the rationale behind one of the many tactical calls made during Chennai Super Kings' victory. In this case he was answering a question on why Ravindra Jadeja was not sent ahead in the chase. But it could possibly answer well for the questions that the Delhi Capitals and Rishabh Pant were left to think about at the end of the game.

Ricky Ponting, Delhi's head coach also mentioned his plans of discussing Pant's decisions on the field and just how much of an impact certain calls on Sunday night in Dubai made as it ended up being one of the many talking points after the game.

The biggest of them was when Pant took the decision to not bowl Kagiso Rabada in the 19th or the 20th over of the defence with 24 needed as Chennai Super Kings made their way to the final with two balls to spare. Tom Curran's final over- made up of a variety of slower balls that had until then only yielded 16 in 3 overs – proved to be just the kind of bowling that MS Dhoni could take advantage of as he hit three boundaries in the final over to take CSK to their 9th IPL final.

“I haven't had a chance to ask the captain that yet. Obviously those calls are made on the field,” said Delhi's head coach Ricky Ponting while addressing the media soon after the match ended.

“And Tom had bowled his first three overs for 16, had bowled really, really well. And done a good job. So that's down to the gut feel of the captain in the middle at that time. And Rishabh obviously thought that Tom was the right man to bowl that last over on the back of how well he had already bowled in the game. It didn't pay off for us tonight. I think it will be a good learning experience for Tom again. He can work out how he can get better at closing that last over out a little bit better. But we'll get back to the rooms tonight and have a bit of a debrief with the players,” said Ponting before adding that he plans to talk with Pant as well.

“And certainly have a chat with Rishabh about all the tactics that happened in the game. Because that's what we generally do. Win, lose or draw, we look deep into what we've done on the field and see ways we can improve for the next game,” said Ponting.

Another of those decisions in a tight game, also involved Pant and Curran. But this time with the bat in hand was the former's decision to farm the strike in the final over resulting in three dot balls and Delhi finishing with 172.

“After the first run that he didn't take, I think the bowling coach James Hopes turned to me and said ‘I think we should be taking every run we can get now.' I said let's just wait till the end of the over and make our judgement then. I think Rishabh is going to back himself more often than not. Tom Curran had faced only one or two balls since he had been at the crease and he was probably going to find it harder to find the boundaries. So look, Rishabh is the captain and he's trying to make those decisions on the run and that was a decision he made tonight,” mentioned Ponting.

Independent of the above conversation, Ponting also conceded that Delhi probably left a few runs behind on a pitch that was flatter than the ones previously made available in Dubai.

While Delhi were left to think back on the calls taken by them over the game, there were some made by Chennai too that didn't get the desired result, but however underlined their approach in the chase. Shardul Thakur's promotion to No. 4 was one such, which resulted in a first-ball duck and started a mini collapse in the middle of the chase.

“I think we all were a bit surprised when we saw him go out there. But if you looked at the scoreboard at that stage, it was pretty evident what they were trying to do – send out a pinch hitter, let him try and take on the spin. And Tom Curran was bowling at that time, cash in on a couple of cheap runs which would have pushed them a long way ahead in the run rate,” opined Ponting whilst echoing the thoughts of his counterpart Stephen Fleming.

“It was a really positive move, what we were trying was to really get ahead of the game. Robbie [Robin Uthappa] was struggling a little bit, and he had an aggressive role and we wanted to continue that. Take some pressure off Ruturaj, and instead we get 15 to 20 runs in quick time and it will help in the back end of the game. It didn't pay off but the thinking is positive and in line with how we want to play the game,” said Fleming.

The other decision was the one taken to send in MS Dhoni ahead of an in-form Jadeja at a critical juncture of the chase. With Ruturaj's departure in the penultimate over, CSK were left needing 24 off 11 balls as Dhoni walked in.

“Look, I think he's been one of the greats, there's no doubt about that. I think there was a situation tonight when we were sitting in the dugout and thinking ‘Would Jadeja come next? Would Dhoni come out next?' I put my hand up straightaway and said I'm pretty sure that Dhoni will come out now and try and ice the game,” declared Ponting.

Fleming too admitted that the decision was made over the course of a lot of discussions with Dhoni right through the chase.

“We had a lot of chat, I think we spoke more in these 20 overs than we have in a long time,” said Fleming and added, “There was a lot of technical discussion and just trying to work out how this was going to unfold, who was going to make maximum impact. But I tell you what when the captain gets that look in his eye and says ‘I'll go'…. there has been well documented times when he has done that. And today was one of that. And so I ain't holding him back, and we saw the result of that”

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