Dhoni's daft decisions cost Chennai victory

India

Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's insistence that spinners bowl all but two of the 19.5 overs resulted in a tight five-wicket defeat to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sunday's key Indian Premier League fixture at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi.

Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's insistence that spinners bowl all but two of the 19.5 overs resulted in a tight five-wicket defeat to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sunday's key Indian Premier League fixture at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi.

Dhoni's decision was somewhat merited in conditions conducive to turn, but seamer Ishwar Pandey arguably should have entered the attack ahead of part-time slow bowler David Hussey – or leg-spinner Samuel Badree be afforded a final six deliveries.

Instead, 2014 IPL debutant Hussey conceded all of 38 runs from a delivery less than three overs. From rank long-hops to ugly full tosses, the Royal Challengers batting order capitalised to the fullest extent. There was nowhere for the Australian recruit to hide.

West Indian left-hander Chris Gayle had laid the foundation for a testing pursuit of a 139-run target. Gayle struck three fours and as many sixes en route to a commanding 46 from 50 deliveries. South African right-hander AB de Villiers, stole the bulk of the proverbial show with a powerful 28 from 14, benefiting from a dropped catch.

Where Hussey failed fellow spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and Badree succeeded. Dhoni's choice not to allow the latter a full complement was genuinely perplexing.

"We knew the pitch would slow down further, the spinners did maintain the pressure and that's one of the reasons why the game went close. Bangalore bowled very well, especially in the last four overs. We lost five to 10 runs, if not more," said Dhoni. "At the end of the day, catches win matches and you don't drop big players. It's not the first time we've made that mistake."

Earlier, Raina's standalone 62 from 48 balls was at the fore of the Super Kings' modest final total of 138 for four. The blossoming all-rounder was initially the frontrunner for the Man of the Match award, which de Villiers snared belatedly.

"That was a tight game. It was a really difficult wicket to play on and I managed to get some runs off the dropped catch. It's the kind of wicket where you win the game and still have areas to work on. It's a huge boost for us," added de Villiers. "I got some of the balls away. I looked foolish a couple of times and took it to the end."

The result pushed the Bangalore franchise to fifth position in the eight-team standings, while the second-placed Super Kings' attempt to surpass log leaders Kings XI Punjab proved unsuccessful – and brought a maiden defeat in Ranchi.

Monday's IPL fixtures will see the Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians clash in Ahmedabad – and the Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab meet at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

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