Ambati Rayudu later said that the ball was not coming on to the bat. Jadeja not only failed to score much but also was an embodiment of disappointment at many levels. He scored run a ball 12, but that is not what CSK would expect of him, especially towards the end of the innings; he is in the team for his hard-hitting, game-changing cameos. Batsmen did not change gears when it was needed, and CSK managed to get only 177-5.
There were clear signs of how the pitch would behave – Dhoni failed to read them. When your team loses all the wickets its does to spinners, it is a big indication that spinners are going to hold the key when you come out to bowl. But Dhoni dreamt of unlocking the door of victory with pacers.
Lungi Ngidi was hammered in the first over itself. And then the despicable happened. Young K M Asif came in to bowl – and he bowled brilliantly, luring Narine into playing silly shots – but Jadeja, normally considered a live wire on the field, dropped easy catches on back-to-back deliveries. Two catches went down in two balls – neither Asif nor anyone else in the stadium could believe what they saw. The dropped catches cost CSK 29 runs.
Though Asif was rewarded with Robin Uthappa's wicket, he conceded runs, too. Jadeja managed to take Narine's wicket eventually, but Dhoni was still not able to understand that he needed to deploy spinners. Harbhajan Singh checked the run flow and Rinku Singh failed to score even run-a-ball before being dismissed for 16. The use of Karn Sharma, again, was too little and too late: Just one over for him, and that too after 15 overs.
Harbhajan had an economy of under 7 in the three overs he bowled. Why was he not given his full quota? Why was he not paired with Karn Sharma for a spell of spin from both ends? Why only 8 overs of spin by CSK when KKR spinners bowled 12? There definitely is some answering for Dhoni to do.
Barely had poor Asif overcome the trauma of two dropped catches when he was handed the ball for another over and he was bashed for 21 runs. Mitchell Johnson was not spared, either. In four overs, the pacers leaked 54 runs. Their tactics failed and Dhoni stood behind the wickets with a blank face.
When Shubman Gill was playing a brilliant knock and solidifying his place in KKR
, Dhoni was actually doing nothing. He was not marshaling his troops or laying a trap for the young talent. It seemed he had given up. Or was he just overconfident that the match would turn in his favour no matter what? The 6-wicket defeat is more a doing of laid-back captaincy than the mistakes of the rest of the team. This defeat puts CSK on the second spot on Vivo IPL points table
. If nothing more, this should be a wake-up call for Dhoni to reinvent his captaincy.
Chennai Super Kings' captain MS Dhoni plays a shot against Kolkata Knight Riders
2018 cricket match at Eden Garden in Kolkata. Photo: PTI