The MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) faced a dramatic 10-run defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. After an impressive performance from their bowlers, who bundled out KKR on 167, CSK batsmen once again failed to deliver as the last-year runner-ups fell short in the run chase.
Chasing 168 to win, CSK got off to a decent start with openers Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis adding 30 runs for the first wicket. In-form Du Plessis got out on 17 after facing 10 balls. However, Watson continued his fine form and went on to complete his second fifty of the IPL 2020. He added a 69-run partnership for the second wicket with Ambati Rayudu (30).
CSK then lost Watson and Rayudu in quick succession which yet again exposed their middle-order woes. Captain Dhoni came out to bat at no.4 but could only score 11 off 12 balls.
After Dhoni’s dismissal in the 17th over, it was expected that CSK would send Ravindra Jadeja or Dwayne Bravo to bat with 38 needed off 21 balls. However, they sent in Kedar Jadhav at No. 6 which baffled many fans and experts. As expected, Jadhav, who is struggling to get runs this season, failed to accelerate and remained unbeaten on 7 off 12 balls.
In the mean-time, CSK head coach Stephen Fleming has revealed why Kedar was sent to bat ahead of Jadeja and Bravo. The 35-year-old Jadhav was trolled heavily on social media following his dismal performance against KKR.
“At the time, we thought that Kedar could play the spinner well and dominate, while Jadeja was there to come and finish. But in the end, there was too much work to do and we fell short,” said Fleming at the post-match press conference.
“We’ve got so much batting resources. Kedar is a late middle batter for India. We could have gone a whole lot of different ways. Today Kedar had some balls but that didn’t work out. You always put players in different areas and that’s just when you have so much batting talent to choose from. It’s one of the things we look at, but it’s all in hindsight,” he added.
Fleming further stated that if CSK batsmen would have executed their plans well towards the end, then the game should not have slipped out of their hands as they were in the driver’s seat for the most part of the chase.
“If we could have got one of those players to 75-plus and continued that partnership for another maybe four or five overs, the game might have been a lot different. Kolkata hung in there long enough to put pressure on us and we just couldn’t accelerate. We feel disappointed that we let it slip.”