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It’s all in the mind

Updated on: 16 April,2024 07:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Subodh Mayure |

Chennai Super Kings bowling coach Eric Simons reckons Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s breezy, unbeaten 20 off four balls on Sunday affected Mumbai Indians mentally at Wankhede

It’s all in the mind

MS Dhoni smashes one for a six against MI at Wankhede on Sunday. Pic/PTI

Chennai Super Kings bowling coach Eric Simons has no doubts whatsoever that former India and CSK captain MS Dhoni’s four-ball unbeaten 20 in the final over against Mumbai Indians, affected the hosts psychologically on Sunday. The knock boosted Ruturaj Gaikwad’s team to 206-4 at the Wankhede Stadium.

“The psychological pressure that you put on the opposition when you go into the break is such an important thing. You go to the change room after an over like that and it gives you massive momentum. They were looking to restrict us under 200 and suddenly they were facing 206 with an over like that. Dhoni continues to amaze us,” Simons said during the post-match press conference on Sunday.

Also Read: The price of passion!

Eric Simons
Eric Simons

After Daryl Mitchell’s (14-ball 17) departure on the second ball of the 20th over, Dhoni smashed MI skipper and pacer Hardik Pandya (2-43) for three consecutive sixes and had two runs on the last ball to finish the over which was worth 26.

MSD struggling with knee injury

Simons, meanwhile, revealed that Dhoni has been struggling with a knee injury, but it didn’t affect his game. “Everyone else is more interested in his [Dhoni] injuries than he is. He’s one of the hardest men I’ve ever come across. I don’t even think we know to what extent he may or may not be in pain. He just carries on and does his thing. I’m sure there are some niggles. He just has that ability to ignore what it is and do what needs to be done,” Simons added.

Dube threat

Simons, a former South African cricketer, remarked that Shivam Dube, who scored a 38-ball unbeaten 66 with the help of 10 fours and two sixes, has the ability to scare opposing spinners.  “When he [Dube] comes on, they [MI] take the spinners off and put the pacemen on. He has become more and more effective. But they didn’t bowl spin again in the rest of the game because he was at the wicket.

“It’s about how you control the match and someone like him [Dube] can control it because they can’t bowl spin anymore. They don’t want to, they’re scared too. His ability to be effective against pace bowling has become a massive asset,” Simons said.

Simons, a Team India bowling coach when Dhoni was captain of India, was full of praise for CSK’s Sri Lankan pacer Matheesha Pathirana, who rattled MI with 4-28. “Matheesha will get a lot of the accolades and he deserves it because of the way he bowled and the breakthroughs he got. But those two gentlemen [pacers Tushar Deshpande and Shardul Thakur] did exceptionally well for us through that middle phase to push the rate out of reach of the Mumbai Indians,” Simons added.

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