IPL 2019: Final, Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings – A tale of two contrasting judgments by MS Dhoni

Dhoni made well thought bowling changes in the first innings to restricted Mumbai Indians to just 149/8 in the final.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Sampath Bandarupalli

Sr. Statistician

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MS Dhoni once again showed his worth as captain to restrict the Mumbai Indians to an underwhelming total of 149/8 in the IPL final. The Hyderabad track had a bit for everyone as the pacers enjoyed the bounce while the spinners got grip from the surface which was on the sticky side. While Dhoni’s decision making with bowling changes was spot on, his judgement while running an overthrow did backfire and turned out to be a game-changing moment.

Restricting the aggression in the middle overs:

Once CSK got both openers at the end of the powerplay, they needed to plan the bowling changes for middle and death overs to not allow MI to score big. With Ishan Kishan at the crease, Dhoni didn’t look towards Ravindra Jadeja against whom the left-handed batsman has a good record. Dhoni was successful in containing his fellow Jharkhand keeper for the 2nd time in a row. In the 2018 season, Ishan had the 2nd best batting strike rate during the middle overs of 177.31.

Ishan’s SR last year rose to 204 against the spinners which is the best for any player through 7-15 overs. As both Suryakumar Yadav and Kishan are good players of spin, Dhoni restrained from bowling Imran Tahir either. Instead, he chipped in a couple of overs from Dwayne Bravo in the first ten overs itself given how Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard treated the leading wicket-taker in T20s in their previous faceoff.

This ensured either of the batsmen couldn’t take risks resulting in a dump in MI’s run-rate which was more than nine an over at one stage. By the time Imran Tahir was introduced, both the uncapped batsmen knew they had to take risks straight away. And they got out to Tahir in successive overs. Having lost most their specialist batsmen by the time they were in the last two overs MI could just score 13 runs while consuming eight consecutive dot balls.

Ishan gives it back:

MS Dhoni
Ishan Kishan’s direct hit found MS Dhoni just short of the line. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After a 53-run powerplay, the MI bowlers tried their best to bring down the scoring rate and to take wickets from one end. By the time MS Dhoni walked to bat in the 11th over, the required rate crept over 8 runs from being less than seven runs. Lasith Malinga missed the stumps at the bowler’s end while Shane Watson got a quick single in the 13th over.

The ball went towards mid-off where Ishan Kishan charged at it, Dhoni, interestingly called Watson for a second only to fall an inch short of safety. Dhoni, who is generally one of the fastest between the wickets and has really good judgement on calling runs, got run out for the first time in two years in the IPL.

Dhoni’s exploits this season did hide CSK’s thin middle order but not in the final and his dismissal did allow MI the decisive edge in the final.

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