No-balls did us in, says Dhoni

Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed his team’s erratic bowling for the team’s second straight defeat in the Champions League Twenty20 on Tuesday.

After being beaten by Sydney Sixers in their opening encounter, CSK continued their bad run in the tournament losing their second encounter to Highveld Lions by six wickets.

CSK skipper MS Dhoni. Pic/AFP

Dhoni top-scored with a fighting 26-ball 34 to ensure Chennai posted a decent 158-6 off their 20 overs. In reply though, the Lions chased the target with three balls and six wicket in hand. Dhoni rued a couple of crucial no-balls from the experienced Albie Morkel and R Ashwin in the ninth and 17th overs respectively.

The Lions hammered a six off the subsequent free hit that followed the no-ball in the ninth over and followed it up with a boundary off the free-hit in the 17th over. Dhoni said the two free-hits shifted the momentum in favour of the South African team. “The timing of the no-balls was crucial. Small things matter. All of a sudden the momentum shifted, they were able to score a lot more freely,” Dhoni said after the defeat at Newlands. “We got off to a very good start, we lost too many wickets in the middle. So we were not able to slog the way we could have, but we still got the score we wanted. I think 160 was a good score,” he said.

Chennai’s hopes of making it to the semi-finals now appear bleak as they remain win-less so far, but Dhoni was confident his side would give their best in the remaining two matches and then wait and watch what happens of their qualification. “It’s difficult for us now to qualify for the semi-finals but nothing comes easy. We have to learn from our mistakes and come up with some big scores now,” he said.

Lions skipper Alviro Petersen lavished praise on Gulam Bodi, who top-scored with a 46-ball 64. “Halfway through the game, I thought we gave 15 runs too many. But our batsmen stayed calm. Bodi played exceptionally well with Neil McKenzie. Generally 10 to 15 overs is a sort of a dead period, you tend to knock it around, but Gulam never allowed the rate to go beyond 10-11 runs an over,” he said.

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