IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming praises MS Dhoni after Kings XI Punjab heroics

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MS Dhoni nearly led Chennai Super Kings to victory.

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming was proud of his team as it went down fighting against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday night at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.

An MS Dhoni special, 79 not out off 44, kept CSK in the game before KXIP secured a four-run victory in the 12th game of IPL 2018.

According to Fleming though, it was KXIP opener Chris Gayle‘s knock of 63 off 33, including seven fours and six sixes that proved to be the difference.

“We were hit hard by Gayle. He played really well. We thought we might be able to pick him up with him being a little bit rusty. We did incredibly well to restrict the score to somewhere under 200,” Fleming said.

“The second half of our bowling during the innings was very good. We were able to get some wickets and create pressure. A score of 196 is still very high, but it’s a lot lower than what it could have been. I’m proud of the effort.

“During the chase, we just hung in and as good as Gayle was at the start of their innings, Dhoni was good at the back end of ours. We were only one hit away from stealing another win. A great game of cricket, that ebbed and flowed, and two really good batting performances from two senior players.”

The CSK skipper put in a show for the fans and almost took his team over the line, despite batting with a stiff back and depositing balls into the stands whenever pitched in his range.

“When you’re chasing, you get certainty in an uncertain game. So you can manage your risk, like you saw MS (Dhoni) managing his almost to perfection. It was a couple of good yorkers from Mohit Sharma that denied us a win,” the former Kiwi captain said. 

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MS Dhoni hits five sixes despite a bad back against Kings XI Punjab

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Dhoni played with a back back against Kings XI Punjab. Image: BCCI

Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni battled severe back pain during his valiant knock of 79 that took his team to within four runs of victory against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Sunday.

Dhoni hit five sixes and six boundaries during his 44-ball innings and looked on track to pull off a remarkable win. Chennai needed 17 runs in the last over and Dhoni hit seamer Mohit Sharma for a boundary to bring the equation down to 11 from three balls. However, Dhoni failed to connect with the next ball and turned down a single on the penultimate ball before depositing the final delivery for a six.

After the match, Dhoni revealed he was batting with severe back pain and was relying almost exclusively on his forearms to hit boundaries.

“The back is pretty bad, but God has given me lot of power and I don’t need to use my back a lot,” Dhoni said. “My arms can do the job. It shouldn’t be too bad because I know what happened, and when you know the extent of injury, you know how bad it really is.”

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IPL 2018: Ravi Ashwin torments his former side and other talking points as Kings XI Punjab defeat Chennai Super Kings

Ashish Peter 15/04/2018
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Ashwin shone against his former side. Image - KXIP/Twitter.

MS Dhoni’s brilliant knock of an unbeaten 79 (44) went in vain as Chennai Super Kings fell to a narrow four-run defeat to Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Sunday.

Requiring 17 runs to win off the final over in their chase of Kings XI’s 197-7, Dhoni’s team fell just short of the finish line as the hosts won their second home match in a row.

Here, we look at the key talking points from the IPL clash.

GAYLESTORM ARRIVES IN THE IPL

It was going to be impossible to keep Chris Gayle out of the IPL limelight for long. The Jamaican was not picked for Kings XI Punjab’s opening two matches but by the time he was dismissed on his debut for the franchise, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin must have been wondering if he had missed a trick by holding him back.

Gayle struck four sixes and seven boundaries as the Kings XI fans found their voice at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. The 38-year-old brought up a stylish fifty in just 22 balls as Kings XI raced away to 92-0 after seven overs. Gayle formed a 96-run opening stand with KL Rahul as the duo’s blazing start set up Kings XI for a massive total.

FINCH’S SECOND STRAIGHT GOLDEN DUCK 

Aaron Finch was dismissed for a golden duck in the defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore after being struck on the pads by Umesh Yadav. The India pacer had later revealed that the team had analysed Finch and found him to be vulnerable in the first delivery of his innings. The ploy had been to attack his stumps the very first ball.

That ploy was taken to heart by Imran Tahir who does not need an excuse to attack the stumps anyway. Finch paid the price for playing against the turn as he was given out lbw. Once again, the batsman whose name is being touted as a potential Australia skipper chose to take a review in desperation rather than belief.

ASHWIN TORMENTS HIS OLD SIDE

Kings XI skipper Ravichandran Ashwin had a point to prove of his own against his former employers who chose not to retain him ahead of the 2018 season. The former Chennai Super Kings stalwart proved to be a thorn in the flesh for MS Dhoni’s men on Sunday.

He bowled an economical four overs, giving away just 32 runs while picking up the wicket of the dangerous Sam Billings with his leg-spin. That wasn’t all as the India off-spinner executed a brilliant direct hit to send back the well set Ambati Rayadu (49). These contributions proved to be vital as Punjab won their second home game in a row.

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