Chennai Super Kings (CSK) defeated Mumbai Indians (MI) by 20 runs on IPL 2021 resumption in the UAE as the three-time champions moved to the top spot in the points table.
Ruturaj Gaikwad batted through the innings to lift Chennai Super Kings from a precarious 7/3 to 156 for six. The late spark was provided by Dwayne Bravo (23 off 8 balls) as CSK recovered from a disastrous start. Skipper MS Dhoni heaped praise on Gaikwad and Bravo, saying that the duo batted "exceptionally" to get Chennai to a challenging total.
"I think at 30/4, you want to get something respectable on the board and Ruturaj and Bravo got us more than what we expected. We had to bat exceptionally to get to 140, but to get to 160 was tremendous. The wicket was slightly two-paced and slow to start off with," said Dhoni.
"Most of them got out to the slowness. If you come later and you want to go hard and that's why we lost wickets. I would have tried to get into the eighth or ninth over and then take it from there. You always think you could have gone harder earlier, but with wickets down, it was a risk," he added.
Dhoni also spoke about Ambati Rayudu's injury, hinting that the right-hander might be back before Chennai's next IPL 2021 match. "It depends on the situation. Rayudu was smiling, so he hasn't broken his arm. He has four days now and that should help him," he said.
Experienced Dwayne Bravo, who notched up an all-round display, described MI as the "toughest" team to play in the league and said it's like a final while playing against the Mumbai-based outfit.
Bravo first chipped in with a 23-run cameo to complement Ruturaj Gaikwad's blistering 88*. He followed it up with bowling figures of 3/25, making him stand apart from the other bowlers of CSK camp.
"It's a good feeling, obviously against MI it's the toughest team in IPL and it's like a final playing them, always a good feeling to win. Just tried to protect myself in the last stages of CPL and when I came over here, just had one bowling session which was yesterday and happy to get 4 overs through today," he said.
Bravo also heaped praise on Gaikwad's blitzkrieg and hailed the opener as a "quality" player. "Ruturaj has been our star player end of last season and this season and he is a quality player. Played proper cricket shots and played till the end. He has an appetite for runs and it's good to get over the line this game," he said.
Stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard highlighted his side's "soft dismissals" that led to their slump during the run-chase. "We must have got a partnership. You can do a lot of things differently in hindsight. Losing by 20 runs, I think that is the difference. Gave too many with the ball at the end.
"Their batters tried to continue the momentum throughout, we didn't do that. We could have learnt from their mistake of losing too many wickets in the powerplay. We needed one guy to bat deep. We had a couple of soft dismissals. We can't let that happen at this level, but we still have six games to go," he said.