Ranchi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni stunned many with his decision of sending Ravichandran Ashwin ahead of himself in the batting order but Chennai Super Kings skipper defended the tactics, saying players needed to be given more responsibility to convert them into match winners.
In an exciting 149-run chase against Rajasthan Royals, Ashwin came to bat at number five, ahead of Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja. Ashwin did not set the field on fire but managed to score 14 off 16 balls. It was left to Dhoni and Jadeja to finish the game and they did that with two balls to spare.
"We wanted to use him and give him more responsibility. He has batting ability, he can rotate the strike and then go after the spinners. To some extent it paid off, you have to give them chances can`t expect them to perform all of a sudden," Dhoni said confidently. Talking about the chase, which became interesting after a couple of good overs from Rajasthan bowlers, Dhoni said,"What we wanted to do was take it to the end but they bowled well and made us stretch a bit."
Dhoni said Jadeja`s six off Kevin Cooper was crucial as it took off pressure from him.
"The big shot from Jadeja really helped a lot. On a wicket like this you should not really go for more than 10 or 12 runs, it was difficult to score. We had a few overs like that while bowling," he explained.
Jadeja was adjudged man of the match for his all round show. He scalped two batsmen and gave away just 18 runs in his four overs and supported Dhoni well in the chase, managing a big hit under pressure. "I like to play on this ground, I do something special for my team here. It`s a good wicket to bowl on but batting you need to play a few balls early on and then accelerate later," he said.
Rajasthan skipper Shane Watson today came to open the innings, a move which was successful as he recorded his best score of the tournament with a fiery 51-run knock. Asked if he would continue to bat at the slot. "We have to see. It will depend on match conditions and against whom we are playing," the Australian said.
"It was a tight match and could have gone either way. Ultimately Dhoni and Jadeja did well to win the game for Chennai," he added.