Former India opener Virender Sehwag on Tuesday (April 17) lauded Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni for his unparalleled fitness that he exhibited during his stupendous 44-ball 79 against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday night.
Even though CSK fell short by just 4 runs while chasing KXIP’s mammoth target of 198, cricket fans were thrilled by Dhoni’s jaw-dropping strokes amidst back pain. During his innings, Dhoni’s back was troubling him a lot and he also took some help from the physio.
Sehwag, who is the mentor and team director of KXIP franchise, stated that had it been any other player in place of Dhoni he would have certainly left the field.
"MS Dhoni is one of the players who have impressed me a lot so far in this season of the IPL. Considering his age and the fact that he had back pain, Dhoni decided to keep on batting against Kings XI Punjab. I think if there would have been any other player in place of Dhoni, he would have left the field and went back to the dressing room. But being the captain, Dhoni took the responsibility and stood there till the end," Sehwag told India TV.
Viru further went on to say that the way Dhoni was hitting those monstrous sixes, it never looked as if he was struggling with his back.
"I was surprised not with his performance but with his attitude. Had it been any other player in place of Dhoni, he would have surely left the field. Dhoni was struggling to run between the wickets but he still batted till the end. The way he was hitting those sixes, it never looked as if he had a bad back. He never showed to the opposition that he was struggling. So, you have to give credit to Dhoni because if he wasn't there, CSK would have lost the match by 50 runs," Sehwag added.
While chasing KXIP’s mammoth target of 198 runs, CSK didn’t look in control at the start as they lost both their openers – Shane Watson and Murali Vijay – for just 39. The hero of Chennai’s thrilling win against KKR, Sam Billings (9 runs off 8 balls) couldn’t repeat his heroics as well.
However, Dhoni was determined to do well as he first added a 57-run stand for the fourth wicket with Ambati Rayudu and then followed it up with a 50-run partnership with Jadeja.
Requiring 76 off the last 30 deliveries, Dhoni got his team almost over the line with his unbeaten innings comprising of 6 fours and 5 sixes. With 17 needed in the last over, pacer Mohit Sharma did the job for KXIP, who recorded their second win in three games this season.