Aakash Chopra, former Indian opener, and commentator on Thursday (October 14), made an interesting prediction about CSK skipper MS Dhoni ahead of the IPL 2021 Final. Aakash Chopra is of the opinion that MS Dhoni will be retained by Chennai ahead of the mega auctions but not as one would expect.
MS Dhoni showed his match-winning abilities in crunch situations as his 6 ball cameo of 18 runs, including 3 fours and 1 six. CSK was in a spot of bother at 149/5, and then 160/6, and MS Dhoni contributed when it mattered most.
Aakash Chopra: MS Dhoni Is Going To Be Retained By CSK, But He Might Be In The IPL 2022 As A Mentor, Not As A Player
“Dhoni is going to retain CSK for sure. Now in what capacity it’s up to him. It’s never been a transactional kind of relationship between the two. MSD is equal to CSK, so if he has a season in him, which is only six months away, and if he has the desire to play as he will play,” Aakash Chopra said.
“But I`m sure he`s also mindful of the fact that next year’s big auction, a lot of money is being parked on one player for the next three seasons. If that’s going to happen then you`re going to hamper the chances of creating a good team at a big auction. So if that plays out the way I think it is, MS might be there as a mentor and not as a player,” Aakash Chopra said.
The 44-year-old feels that some things have gone Chennai Super Kings way, which led to them being exceeding expectations. He also said that Chennai went from strength to strength as they did well in their matches in Mumbai. Chennai is now in their ninth IPL final and will try to bag the trophy for the fourth time against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday in Dubai.
“Well, few things have gone their way and they have exceeded expectations, because in the first leg when they were playing in Wankhede stadium and I thought they didn’t have the side to conquer that frontier. They were extraordinary there and they have gone from strength to strength,” Aakash Chopra said.
Commenting on the players who have done well for Chennai, Aakash Chopra said, “Because the middle order hasn’t fired, so the opening partnership of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf Du Plessis has.”
“Moeen Ali in the first half of the tournament with the bat, Ravindra Jadeja`s resurgence as a T20 finisher – he did finish a couple of games on his own. Also, a lot of factors have also contributed. Lord Shardul, let`s not forget him, if they have the Lord on their side, then the light of the Lord is with them,” Aakash Chopra said.
The major reason for CSK’s success in IPL 2021 is the resounding start given by Ruturaj Gaikwad (603 runs) and Faf du Plessis (547 runs). The pair have complemented each other throughout the tournament and have been the most impressive opening partnership in the tournament, by far. Moreover, the bowlers, especially Shardul Thakur, have been clinching wickets at crucial times.
The middle-order batsmen’s form also poses a big headache for CSK despite Robin Uthappa soothing the concerns with a half-century and MS Dhoni finishing off the match with a quick cameo. If the openers don’t get a good start, then Chennai is in trouble with the bat. If the dew sets in with the ball, their bowling attack comprised of Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood, and Dwayne Bravo, among others, gets nullified and becomes toothless.
Ajit Agarkar: At The Start Of IPL, CSK Decided To Build A Team Around MS Dhoni
Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar mentioned the Indian core of Chennai as a reason for them being a strong franchise in the tournament.
“So, what they did was, at the start of the IPL, they decided to build the team around MS Dhoni and obviously got the Indian guys like Suresh Raina and M Vijay at the start.”
“So, the nucleus was there of the Indian players, then it becomes a lot easier to get your overseas guys. And then they kept on adding one or two players, and that’s why they have been such a good time for so long, but it is time, they will have to make changes,” concluded Agarkar.
MS Dhoni scored exactly 200 runs in IPL 2020, averaging a below-par 25 while managing only 114 runs in IPL 2021 in 15 games averaging a dismal 16.28. His strike rate is also below 120 both times and below 110 this season.
CSK Predicted XI: Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar & Josh Hazlewood.
KKR Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (C), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy & Shivam Mavi