Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh maturing like fine wine: MS Dhoni after CSK outclass KKR in Chennai

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It was touted as a blockbuster clash between the top-two teams in the Indian Premier League this season but in the end the match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders turned out to be a one-sided encounter as the home team won by 7 wickets to go back to the top of the points table on Tuesday.

The Super Kings first restricted the Knight Riders to 108 for 9 and then chased down the target with 16 deliveries to spare at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai.

The win was mainly set up by the bowlers – Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir – as the young pacer combined with the spinners to run through the KKR batting lineup.

While Chahar collected the man-of-the-match award for picking up 3 wickets, both Harbhajan and Tahir finished with 2 wickets each and captain MS Dhoni reserved special praise for CSK’s veteran spin-twins.

“The age is on their side. They are like wine, the way they are maturing. Bhajji has done well in whatever games he has played. I have fallen back on Tahir and he has done the job. They’ve come up every time but once we go out to flatter wickets, we’ll have to see what combinations we’ve to play.

“Imran Tahir has confidence in me. He has got a very good flipper. He is someone who if you tell that this is the right pace to bowl on, he does it most of the times,” MS Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.

Dhoni though, wasn’t too happy with the slow nature of the pitch and once again criticised the 22-yard strip prepared by the Chepauk curator.

“It became like the first game. Again we were cribbing about the track but we won. We’ve lost Bravo and it looks like this pitch suits us now but I don’t think we want to play on wickets like these because it becomes too low-scoring for the batsmen,” Dhoni said.

CSK, the defending champions, started their campaign with a victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2019 opener at the Chepauk on March 23. They then defeated Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, lost to Mumbai Indians before bouncing back against Rajasthan Royals.

On Tuesday, CSK destroyed Kolkata Knight Riders at home to move back to the top of the points table after their 5th win of this season. The Super Kings, who have played 6 matches so far this season, have lost only to Mumbai Indians when they failed to chase down 171 at the Wankhede Stadium.

More significantly, CSK have won all their 4 matches at home so far this season.

MS Dhoni, like last year, has led Chennai Super Kings from the front this year as well. He has scored 156 runs from 6 matches with a best of 75 not out. He is in fact the leading run-scorer for his team in the 2019 IPL and the only CSK batsman in the top 20 of the leading run-scorers this year.

But 3 of the top 10 wicket-takers are from Chennai Super Kings. Imran Tahir (9) is 2nd in the list behind Delhi Capitals’ Kagiso Rabada (11) while Harbhajan Singh is 7th with 7 wickets from 4 matches.

Dwayne Bravo also has 7 wickets from 4 matches and is No.10 in the wicket-takers’ list this year. However, he has been ruled out for the next few matches with hamstring injury.

“Losing Bravo, it is slightly difficult for us to get the combination as we are missing the all-rounder. David (Willey) is not here as well. So, it can’t be a straight swap,” Dhoni said.

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