First time I saw Dhoni show frustration, recalls Watson

Written by N Krishnamurthy

MS Dhoni remains a fan-favourite worldwide despite stepping aside from international cricket on August 15, 2020. The former India captain is known for his calm demeanour, leadership, wicketkeeping skills, finishing and power-hitting abilities along with his humungous stature in IPL (T20s overall) and ODI cricket — also retiring with proud numbers for a keeper-batsman in Tests (4,876 runs with 6 tons).

While Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are still at the top spot in IPL 2021, despite their close defeat to arch-rivals Mumbai Indians (MI) on Saturday (May 1), the Yellow Army would be gutted to let go of a match they had in hand after posting a mammoth 218-4 following MI opting to bowl first. In reply, MI rode on crucial knocks from Quinton de Kock, Krunal Pandya, Rohit Sharma before Kieron Pollard, 87* off 32 balls, went bonkers in the final overs to seal a miraculous 4-wicket win in match 27 of the ongoing season.

Prior to the first El Clasico of IPL 14, former CSK opener Shane Watson had recalled moments from IPL 2019 final, where both CSK and MI locked horns in Hyderabad that saw the then three-time winners Mumbai lift their fourth title by a one-run victory.

Watson recalled Dhoni showing frustration during the classic encounter in IPL 2019 final. The Aussie said during the pre-match show on Star Sports before the start of the MI-CSK clash in Delhi on Saturday, “To be able to play any IPL final is huge, but playing against Mumbai Indians that year was big in IPL 2019. They had beaten us comprehensively in both games and in the build-up to the final, we knew we had to play out skins really.”

He added, “How the finals played out? We were able to get on top of them. That ball, oh Jesus… that was the first time I saw MS Dhoni show frustration in the change room, albeit it was only a tiny bit around that time. Could pick a favourite but wouldn’t want to be on either side of it.”

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N Krishnamurthy