MI vs CSK IPL 2018 Match 1st : Mumbai Indians – 165/4, Chennai Super Kings – 169/9, Chennai Super Kings win by 1 wicket. Dhoni: “I think they missed the competition. CSK-MI is one game that people wait to watch. We’re coming back after two years, that’s also the reason that people are eager to watch us in action. I’m a practical person, so I was hoping in the dressing room that the quantum of defeat wasn’t too big. The way Bravo batted, it was really good to see him take the responsibility. Don’t think we batted well as a team. But it’s the first game, so we’ll take the positives out of it. The kind of players we have got, our selection will be based on horses for courses. We’ll have to keep an eye on lot of things.”
IPL 2018 Match 5th : CSK vs KKR Chennai Super Kings won by 5 wickets. Dhoni: “It feels good, to come back after two years and win. The crowd deserved the first innings, the second innings. Everybody has their own emotion levels, but in the dugout, we like to keep faith in our batsmen or bowler in a particular time. Positive energy helps. My pulse rises too – and that’s why we have a dressing room. I express myself in the dressing room but not in the dugout. If you’re too expressive in the field, then commentators get a lot of things to talk about. It’s good to see Sam bat the way he batted. Yes, we did go for runs, and Kolkata did bat well. Bowlers from both sides had a rough time, but I’m sure the crowd enjoyed.”
IPL 2018 Match 12th : CSKvKXIP ; Kings XI Punjab won by 4 runs : MS Dhoni – Not much going through my mind. They bowled very well, Mujeeb made a difference. I don’t think there was much dew on the ground. They played better than us. We can improve in few areas. Chris innings in the first innings and Mujeeb’s bowling made a difference. It was a close game . We will be a safe fielding team and not be an exceptional one. We have to be smart while bowling. We want to keep cutting boundaries here and there and that can make a difference. All the games we have been part of were close so individuals would have learnt from that. Fleming is in the dug out so he needs to take the decision. We have confidence in Jadeja because being a left-hander it is not easy for the bowlers. This is the time we need to give him opportunity. If Jadeja can do the job of the floater that would be really good for the team as we have Raina in the top of the order and if Jadeja does it lower down the order. I will back him as we have not given much opportunities. I don’t know how bad my back is but it should be. God has given me enough power so I don’t have to rely on back a lot. It shouldn’t be so bad. I am used to playing with the injuries. You have to be tough.
IPL 2018 Match 17th : CSKvRR, Chennai Super Kings won by 64 runs : Dhoni, CSK captain: Big game for us, we lost the last one. It’s like an unknown territory for us. CSK is used to be slightly behind, before getting into the groove. Have to keep the fitness levels up, most of us are over 30. No point getting injured when you’re trying to stop a single or double. We’ve got a few good fielders who are very good. They are doing most of the work. Just want to keep the players fit. Change of venue – to be frank – CSK wasn’t there for couple of years. I played for Pune. The fans supported me. It’s time to return the favour. It’s Chennai Super Kings, not Pune Super Kings. As far as the wicket is concerned, I’m not sure that it was coming on nicely, especially when the ball got old. Back of length was hard to hit. Batsmen made the bowlers’ life easy. Spinners had to vary their line and lengths along with the pace. It’s a league stage, it’s not like the quarters or semis, where if you lose you’re out, so there’s not that much pressure. For CSK whenever we played in Chennai, we used to bat first a lot of times in Chennai. Dew is a factor here. Slowly what has happened is that people are getting comfortable either way. If wicket is good, not many teams will mind batting first or second.
IPL 2018 Match 20th : SRHvCSK, Chennai Super Kings won by 4 runs : Dhoni, CSK captain: Won’t say what we were talking about (chat with Bravo before the last ball), wanted him to change his plan. At times even the best – Bravo – need a bit of advice. That’s what they’re paid for. What’s important is you make mistakes and learn. In league stages you can afford to do that. Where we are at this point, a few mistakes won’t dent us. Bowlers will learn out of it. Wickets have gone better. If you compare it to the first few editions of the IPL, these wickets are very good batting surfaces. Need to give credit to the batsmen. They’re getting stronger. They’re making plans as to which bowler bowls what. As we get into the knockout stages, we’ll see the bowlers coming up with new plans and it won’t be easy for the batsmen to score the kind of runs they’re scoring so far. What’s important is to give them – the younger bowlers – as many games as possible. Deepak swings the ball and lends balance with his batting down the order. Shardul had a few bad games. Last international series wasn’t good for him. But he has the right attitude and also the variations. Rayudu was fantastic. One thing was where to make him play. Had to make space for him because I’ve always rated him highly. I’ve seen him bat up the order, he looks confident. Whenever he hits the big shots, he maintains the shape. He’s somebody who can bat at different numbers. But I prefer him opening the batting.
IPL 2018 Match 24th : CSKvRCB , Chennai Super Kings won by 5 wkts. MS Dhoni is the Man of the Match: “I thought when we had the innings break this was difficult to chase because when I was keeping, I felt AB batted well to get them to 200 runs and it was tough to score. I thought it was 15-20 beyond par score. The key for us was the two left-handers but we lost them early. This was a slightly slowish wicket and that’s why AB’s knock was special. It wasn’t an easy wicket, credit to him. Happy that people are chipping in for us. Shardul will get better. The more he is under pressure, the better he will get. You may win or lose, but if you do the process right, you are on the right track. The finisher can score runs, but if he can help the other batsman with what to play, run quicker between the wickets etc with the experience I have, that is what you want from a finisher. Rayudu’s knock was crucial.”
IPL 2018 Match 27th : CSKvMI, Mumbai Indians won by 8 wickets. Dhoni: “It’s important to realise what went wrong. Losses like these makes you learn a lot. We’ve relied on brilliant individual performances, but here we were 10-15 short. Mumbai Indians bowled well in the middle overs. You need pace on this wicket, they bowled back of length, so it wasn’t coming on. If you have pace, you can push the batsmen back. Playing cross-batted shots weren’t easy. Their spinners also bowled well. Choice of deliveries could have been better from our bowlers. Losses like these make you humble. If you keep winning, you don’t know the areas you’ve to work hard. It’s a good game, gives us an idea of what we should do in such situations, and whether we need to score 20 runs more. It’s still early in the competition.”
IPL 2018 Match 30th : CSKvDD; Chennai Super Kings won by 13 runs.MS Dhoni: Back is bad but nothing much can be done. I have not been training much because of it. There is a bit of pain but I think I will manage. It is very important for us to get a good platform and then I can promote myself up the order. Looking at the wicket we thought we needed an overseas batsmen. With Faf opening and Rayudu it gives more stability to the batting order. Rayudu can bat anywhere in the order and he is keen to take any responsibility. Lungi has impressed me right from the South Africa. If he keeps coming good it will be good for us. Eliminators will be at the small ground and we will have to think about our death bowling. Bowlers have to adapt otherwise we will have to look at other options.
IPL 2018 Match 33 : KKRvCSK, Kolkata Knight Riders won by 6 wickets. Dhoni: “We have to look at what our strength with the bowlers was. It was important to hit the seam, but the pitch was better in the second innings. Overall disappointed with the loss, especially with the bowling department. The fielding, I knew how we’d field, but what was bad was the way the fielders reacted. You need to give extra when you are slow. Classic example was Michael Hussey. That’s the commitment we needed, but we knew from the start how our fielding will be. No one was bowling well, so I shuffled the bowlers towards the end. They have to manoeuvre their pace and line a bit. They need to be aware of the batsman’s strength, or if they’re under pressure.”
IPL 2018 Match 35 : CSKvRCB, Chennai Super Kings won by 6 Wickets. MS Dhoni – I think it was a pr score, it wasn’t coming on nicely. I thought spinners came into pl;ay, both Jaddu and Bhajjipa did very well, they kept us in the game. On this wicket, we can’t get to know what is a good score. Batting – it could have been better. We were worried about the bowling department, in the last few games, there’s no one individual who has come up and taken that place. The good thing is we have a lot of all-rounders, we need to know who is our death bowling option going ahead, that’s what we are worried about. That’s the reson for so many changes in the team for every game. We are playing with multiple line-ups, so if someone who bowls two or three overs (if possible four), that helps us keep Bravo at the end, it also helps the other bowlers know what they are expected to do. In the 9-10 games we have played, none of them have shown consistency to bowl in the death overs. Jadeja bowled very well, he was manuvoering his pace, Virat and AB – both getting out made things slightly easy – they bowled 8 overs in tandem, that helped me to keep them going.
IPL 2018 Match 43 : CSKvRR, Rajasthan Royals won by 4 wickets. Dhoni: I think it is the bowling. We had to bowl one particular length and the bowlers were instructed on what they need to bowl and where they need to bowl. That back of the length was difficult to hit. We at least got hit 4-5 boundaries off full length. What really happens is once you are told what to bowl, you need to be bowling to that area. They need to commit and execute. It is not the planning but the execution that goes haywire. That was a par score or par plus score. I think the bowlers let us down to some extent. Looking at the XI that were on the field, we did well in the field. We can say we can get better, but with the players we have, this is the best we can get. It is important to start delivering when it comes to the planning part. You just don’t want to qualify into the knockout stages, you have to win games. You also need to adjust to what length to bowl and how to bowl.
IPL 2018 Match 46 : CSKvSRH, Chennai Super Kings won by 8 wickets. MS Dhoni: “I thought the ball will swing more in the second half than what it did for us. That was a surprise. Even before IPL started I had to make space for Rayudu, because he is somebody I rate him very highly. My plan was to make Rayudu open and if Kedar was fit, he will bat at 4 or 5. Unfortunately we played one game in Chennai, but the response we got from Pune was very good. The fans watch the game despite the stadium being quite far.”
IPL 2018 Match 52 – CSKvDD, Delhi Daredevils won by 34 runs. MS Dhoni: “The pitch got a little more difficult as the game went on. Their bowlers bowled well, and how the wicket played makes it easier for us to assess what went wrong. I told my team not to worry about the points table, but to take the game one at a time, we have to more mentally ready for the next game. If we get our death bowling sorted out that would be great. We will try to manage the big stage when it comes and we’ll need to be at our best and perform as a team to get to the Finals.”
IPL 2018 Match 56 – CSKvKXIP, Chennai Super Kings won by 5 wickets. Dhoni- If you see their bowling line-up, it was definitely swinging a bit more so for Ankit. From a captain’s perspective, you want to take as many wickets upfront. So sending in Bhajji and Chahar causes chaos. The bowlers lose their lines and lengths, instead of sticking to the plan. Plus Bhajji and Chahar could come in handy during the playoffs. Owners have been brilliant. We have a set of people who are close to the players. They have a history of understanding the game. Looking at ten years, it has been very good for us. We like to do the process right because that’s what gives you the result. When the format is like this, just a couple of big hits or a run-out can change things. Everyone wants to win. They’ve done well to go into the knockout stages.
IPL 2018 Qualifier 1 : CSKvSRH, Chennai Super Kings won by 2 wickets. Dhoni, CSK captain: I’m always happy whenever we win a game. Process is more important. Being in top two gives more liberty of having one more game. If we would’ve lost this game, still you give yourself a second chance. They bowled very well. There was a bit for the fast bowlers initially. Bhuvi bowled really well and he was backed up well by Rashid. We kept losing wickets, for that reason also we had to keep pushing ourselves to get the number of runs needed. We lost three-four in the middle and that put pressure. Obviously they have a mystery bowler. Good to win games like this. But what’s important is to learn out of this game. It’s about constantly improving. This is the best combination that we have got. And right from the first game we’ve used different bowlers in different ways to find out who is the best bowler at the end. You have to keep shuffling them to see who can see a good job for me. They will get hit at some point of time. These are the bowlers, and our bowlers, who were playing this game. They will have to step up in the final. That’s where experience counts (talking about du Plessis). It’s not easy not to get games during the IPL. I’ve always felt you need to train the mind more than the body. Injuries can happen anytime. That’s where experience counts. He’s been brilliant. He batted really well. Hopefully he can continue this in the final also. We’ve been a very good team and it reflects when it comes to the IPL. It reflects the dressing room atmosphere we’ve been able to create. It’s not possible without that. Credit goes to management, support staff and players. Even if one of them is lacking you can’t have a good dressing room atmosphere. If atmosphere is not great, it becomes difficult to perform. Somehow we’ve been able to push the players into thinking about what’s good for the team.