'MS was desperate, it could be tactical' - Sanjay Manjrekar on CSK skipper pausing the game during Qualifier 1 against GT

Sanjay Manjrekar, a former cricketer turned expert, believes that Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni was desperate to include their top pacer Matheesha Pathirana in the final few overs.

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MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Jio Cinema)

Sanjay Manjrekar, former India cricketer, recently offered his thoughts on a contentious event that took place during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 Qualifier 1 clash between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings. CSK skipper MS Dhoni received criticism for halting the game in the second innings, when the team had been waiting for Matheesha Pathirana to return to the field.

CSK defeated the defending champions GT, thereby making it to the finals. In the game, CSK bundled out the Titans for 157 runs in 20 overs, effectively defending the target of 173 runs. the two sides fought in a compelling match that was eventually won by the MS Dhoni-led side by a decisive margin of 15 runs. But there was a moment in the game when the innings was delayed as CSK waited for Pathirana to get back on the field and bowl the over.

MS Dhoni was also seen indulging in a serious conversation with the on-field umpires, and the act was followed by eperts of the game criticising the move. There were many who said that the CSK skipper could have used some other bowler instead of wasting game time. 

When asked for his thoughts on the issue, Sanjay Manjrekar saw Dhoni's actions as a sign of "desperation" in seeking out for Pathirana's eligibility.

"We don't know exactly what happened. He was away for 9 (four) minutes, and (we don't know) whether the time when they had a conversation was counted or not. On the field, time is also counted when the game is actually played. Maybe, MS (Dhoni) thought that it would work in his favour. I felt today, MS was desperate. He knew that the way Rashid Khan was playing, he had to give the ball to someone who he could believe in. It could be tactical,” Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.

Recognising the value of Pathirana's expertise as a specialist in the final few overs, Dhoni wanted to use him for that crucial over to meet his bowling requirement. This incident resulted in fascinating conversations that have shed light on the tactical choices that are made by captains under pressure. Dhoni's strategic action demonstrates his intelligence and relentless commitment to enhancing his team's chances of winning.

Four-time champion CSK will now square off against the winner of Qualifier 2, which will be played between the Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on May 26.

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