MS Dhoni downplays captaincy change as Chennai win in IPL

Openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (99) and Devon Conway (85 not out) put on this season's best stand of 182 to guide Chennai to 202-2, a total their bowlers defended

Ravindra Jadeja of the Chennai Super Kings and MS Dhoni. Sportzpics for IPL
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MS Dhoni downplayed his return as Chennai Super Kings captain and the team's comfortable Indian Premier League victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday as a mere "coincidence".

Openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (99) and Devon Conway (85 not out) put on this season's best stand of 182 to guide Chennai to 202-2, a total their bowlers defended by restricting Hyderabad to 189-6 in Pune.

Dhoni, who gave up the captaincy ahead of this IPL season, accepted the armband from Ravindra Jadeja after the latter stepped down following the team's six losses from eight games.

India great Dhoni played down the leadership switch, but said the weight of captaincy may have weighed too heavy on Jadeja.

"I did nothing different, when you are in the same dressing room you keep saying the same things," the 40-year-old Dhoni said after Chennai's third win this season.

"It's not like when you change the captain a lot of things change. It's one of those coincidences where we got off to a good start and forced the bowlers to bowl the areas where we wanted to hit.

"Once you become captain, it means a lot of demands come in and can affect the player's performance and occupy their mind which I think was the case with him," said Dhoni.

"I think captaincy burdened his prep and performances, it meant he could not go with the bat and ball with the same intensity."

Dhoni, who led India to two World Cup titles, received a rousing welcome when he walked out for the toss with Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson who put Chennai in to bat.

Gaikwad and the left-handed Conway put on 182 in 17.5 overs to propel their side to an imposing total.

Umran Malik, who returned figures of 5-25 in his previous match, hit the mark again with a yorker to Dhoni.

Gaikwad, who hit six sixes in his 57-ball knock, brought up his fifty with a boundary off Malik, but fell one short of a ton when he gave a catch to point off T Natarajan.

The Hyderabad bowlers checked the flow of runs in the final overs but Conway finished with two fours and a single to get Chennai past 200.

Sunrisers, the 2016 champions, could only muster 189-6, however, despite Nicholas Pooran's unbeaten 33-ball 64.

Williamson, who made 47, and Abhishek Sharma added 52 off the first five overs, before Mukesh Choudhary broke through with wickets from successive balls.

The left-arm seamer finished with figures of 4-46, with 24 coming off his last over.

Victory leaves Chennai ninth in the 10-team table on six points while Sunrisers are fourth on 10 points as they chase a play-off place.

Updated: May 02, 2022, 5:09 AM
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