Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admits his players were “a bit tentative” before the start of their Indian Premier League opener against the Kolkata.
The Super Kings kicked off the defence of their IPL title with a thrilling, last-ball victory over the Knight Riders on Friday. Set 154 for victory, Kolkata could only manage 151 for seven in their 20 overs.
“It was a first game with a new team, and you get a new car and you want to break it in, but you don’t want to ‘break it’,” Dhoni said. “Everyone was a bit tentative at start of the game since it was a new squad. Even if we did not win this game, we would have got a lot out of it.”
The Knight Riders looked to be cruising to victory but they lost a spate of wickets in the final five overs and fell short by just two runs.
Dhoni insists he was always confident the Super Kings would get back into the game in the latter stages of the Kolkata innings.
“The fielding was very good. Tim [Southee] bowled well, [Suraj] Randiv and [Suresh] Raina did well, and [Ravichandran] Ashwin as always was brilliant,” Dhoni said.
“When they had around 70 after the first seven-eight overs, people may have thought the game was over, but I said this is when it begins since the pitch will slow up.”
Black Caps fast bowler Southee was the Chennai hero as he held his nerve to defend four off the final ball. A yorker on the legs, which was planned by Dhoni, meant Rajat Bhatia could only get it away for a leg bye.
“For the last ball, I was confused since it was like having two options – yorker outside off, or yorker at the legs,” the Super Kings skipper said. “I decided on the latter, since with the field we had, a boundary would have been possible only if he played a great shot through midwicket. And it came off.” Cricket365