Hardik Pandya in post-match presentation ceremony© BCCI/Sportzpics

Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya praised MS Dhoni for his ability to read the game perfectly and said that there is a “man behind the stumps” who tells Chennai Super Kings what is working for them during any game. Following his team’s loss against CSK in the IPL 2024 match on Sunday, Hardik said that MI were doing well during their 207-run chase but an impressive four-wicket haul for Matheesha Pathirana proved to be the turning point of the match and MI fell short by 20 runs in the encounter.

“It (target) was definitely gettable, but they bowled pretty well. Pathirana was the difference. They were smart with the plans and their approach. They got the hang of it, there’s a man behind the stumps (Dhoni) who tells them what’s working, and that helps. It (pitch) was holding up a bit and getting difficult.”

“It was about batting well and keeping the intent. We were going quite well (in the run chase) till Pathirana came into the attack and took those two wickets. It was about what is best at that time, we could have done something different. I like to play percentage cricket, it would have been difficult for him (Dube) against seamers rather than spin. We are on the road for the next four games, need to play good cricket, need to keep the intensity high,” Hardik said following the conclusion of the match.

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CSK captain Ruturaj Gaikwad also showered praises on Dhoni for his explosive 4-ball-20 and said that the “young wicketkeeper scoring those three sixes” helped them in clinching the win.

“The young wicketkeeper scoring those three sixes helped us a lot, that proved to be the difference. We needed those 10-15 extra runs for this kind of venue. In the middle phase, Bumrah bowled really well. I feel we were spot on with our execution with the ball despite them scoring some great shots.”

Ruturaj also opened up about the decision to use Ajinkya Rahane as an opening batter.

“I would have taken 6 overs 60 at the powerplay. You need to be on the mark with bowling and batting at this venue. Our Malinga bowled really well today, he nailed those yorkers. Not to forget, Tushar and Shardul also did well. (On plans ahead) I think we need to keep it simple, encourage all to be in a good headspace and continue the same way. Jinks was carrying a bit of a niggle, so thought it was better for him to open. I’m fine batting anywhere, plus it is the added responsibility as the team captain,” he said.

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