IPL 2020: Manjrekar expects CSK skipper Dhoni to take a back seat as batsman this season

Dhoni’s contribution with the bat wasn't needed in CSK's win over MI.

MS Dhoni | IANSOther Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsmen did their job so brilliantly that captain MS Dhoni’s contribution wasn’t even needed in the team’s five-wicket victory over defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL 2020 opener last Saturday (September 19).

WATCH- Sam Curran calls MS Dhoni a genius; says was surprised to bat ahead of him

Chasing 163 to win, Super Kings rode on Ambati Rayudu’s 48-ball 71 and Faf du Plessis’ 44-ball 58* to overhaul the target with four deliveries to spare.

While Dhoni was there when Du Plessis hit the winning runs, the skipper couldn't open his account as he remained unbeaten after facing two balls.

Looking at CSK’s first game, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar believes Dhoni the batsman may take a back seat this season.

"It was amazing to see Chennai win the first game, a team that thrives on turning pitches put up a brilliant winning performance against Mumbai in the opening act," Manjrekar wrote in his column for The Times of India on September 22.

"I watched Dhoni as captain in that first game where Chennai lost five wickets and Dhoni ended up zero not out after facing just two balls. While more evidence is certainly needed, people should not be surprised if they see Dhoni the batsman take a back seat to allow Dhoni the captain to guide the team’s fortunes," he opined.

Manjrekar also hailed Dhoni’s decision making abilities as a captain.

"Picking Sam Curran, (Lungi) Ngidi in the eleven and then promoting Curran and (Ravindra) Jadeja up the order to make a winning difference are all early signs of this. With a win against Mumbai, who have been their nemesis, Chennai start as clear favourites against Rajasthan," he remarked.

CSK will face Rajasthan Royals (RR) in their second game on Tuesday (September 22) in Sharjah.

Sharing his two cents on the upcoming match, Manjrekar said Rajasthan will be heavily dependent on their high-profile foreign recruits.

"Rajasthan is an interesting team, but is it a potential champion team? Most would say no, but there have been a few good developments for them in recent times. Jos Buttler, for example, on sheer form and quality of stroke-play, is one of the world’s best T20 batsmen today. He will miss today’s (Tuesday) game due to quarantine rules, but he will play a crucial role in the tournament," he stated.

"Steve Smith is also an improved T20 player than last year. (Jofra) Archer has only got better as a fast bowler, plus with no Rahane, who tended to hold them back in the first few crucial overs, expect a whirlwind start with the bat. Sure, they lack a bit of depth in batting but Steve Smith kind of batsmen have made great impact so far."


By Salman Anjum - 22 Sep, 2020

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