Bangalore: M.S. Dhoni was in an upbeat mood. When the media officer asked the press corps to raise their hands prior to asking questions here on Monday night, the first hand that shot up was that of the Chennai Super Kings captain! And then with an impish smile, Dhoni gestured to the media to fire away. Having pulled off a 13-run victory over host Royal Challengers Bangalore in the DLF-Indian Premier League match, Dhoni’s expansive mood was understandable.
“We held our nerve. It was a close match but I knew that it was a matter of two wickets to change the course of the game and that’s what happened. In Twenty20 the game changes every three deliveries and I am happy that we won this match.
“There was some swing but when they (Wasim Jaffer and Ross Taylor) were batting well, we were so caught up in controlling the runs, so much so that we didn’t shine the ball for sometime. But finally we did and the ball did swing after 14 overs and it helped us,” Dhoni said.
On his own belligerent 65 and the omission of Muttiah Muralitharan, Dhoni said: “When I walked in, it was good to see that Michael Hussey was batting well and that helped me a lot to settle down and then play my shots. Royal Challengers did bowl well. The pitch seemed the kind that helped fast bowlers and there was not much in it for the spinners hence we left Murali out of the eleven and I think the way the game shaped up, my assessment was proved right.”
Dhoni also expressed the belief that his team had enough bench strength to tide over the absence of Mathew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Jacob Oram in the subsequent matches.
Meanwhile, Royal Challengers skipper Rahul Dravid admitted that his team lost a match that it should have won. “I think we were in contention for a large part of the game but we failed to finish it off. Chennai Super Kings are a good side and have played good cricket all through and held their nerve,” Dravid said.
On Anil Kumble’s absence, Dravid said: “Anil pulled up stiff after the last match hence we couldn’t pick him.”
As the Chennai Super Kings celebrated its victory, ace drummer Sivamani stepped onto the turf and was soon joined by the team’s supporters and cheerleaders. A few security personnel in plain-clothes however stopped Sivamani briefly before Dhoni intervened and asked them to let the drummer in. And then the drum beats echoed on.