Chennai Super Kings required 13 runs from the final over to win Qualifier 1 of IPL 2021 against Delhi Capitals in Dubai on Sunday night. With Kagiso Rabada left with one over, DC captain Rishabh Pant opted to give the ball to Tom Curran who was playing his first game of the UAE leg.
In that over, Tom Curran removed Moeen Ali but Dhoni held the nerves and smashed three fours to seal the CSK’s spot in the summit clash for the ninth time. When asked about this choice by the skipper to not bowl Rabada, Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting said that decision was down to the gut feeling of Rishabh Pant and also stated that Tom Curran will have a good learning experience from that last over.
“I haven’t had a chance to ask the captain that yet. Obviously, those calls are made on the field,” said Delhi’s head coach Ricky Ponting while addressing the media soon after the match.
“And Tom Curran had bowled his first three overs for 16, had bowled really, really well. And done a good job. So that’s down to the gut feel of the captain in the middle at that time. And Rishabh obviously thought that Tom Curran was the right man to bowl that last over on the back of how well he had already bowled in the game. It didn’t pay off for us tonight. I think it will be a good learning experience for Tom Curran again. He can work out how he can get better at closing that last over out a little bit better. But we’ll get back to the rooms tonight and have a bit of a debrief with the players.”
“And certainly have a chat with Rishabh about all the tactics that happened in the game. Because that’s what we generally do. Win, lose or draw, we look deep into what we’ve done on the field and see ways we can improve for the next game,” he added.
Another of those decisions in a tight game, also involved Pant and Curran. But this time with the bat in hand was the former’s decision to farm the strike in the final over resulting in three dot balls and Delhi finishing with 172.
“After the first run that he didn’t take, I think the bowling coach James Hopes turned to me and said ‘I think we should be taking every run we can get now.’ I said let’s just wait till the end of the over and make our judgment then. I think Rishabh is going to back himself more often than not. Tom Curran had faced only one or two balls since he had been at the crease and he was probably going to find it harder to find the boundaries. So look, Rishabh is the captain and he’s trying to make those decisions on the run and that was a decision he made tonight,” mentioned Ponting.
Talking about Shardul Thakur’s promotion to No. 4 in the batting order for CSK, Ponting opined: “I think we all were a bit surprised when we saw him go out there. But if you looked at the scoreboard at that stage, it was pretty evident what they were trying to do – send out a pinch hitter, let him try and take on the spin. And Tom Curran was bowling at that time, cash in on a couple of cheap runs which would have pushed them a long way ahead in the run rate.”
With Ruturaj’s departure in the penultimate over, CSK were left needing 24 off 11 balls as Dhoni walked in. Sharing his opinion on CSK’s captain cameo, the Australian said: “Look, I think he’s been one of the greats, there’s no doubt about that. I think there was a situation tonight when we were sitting in the dugout and thinking ‘Would Jadeja come next? Would Dhoni come out next?’ I put my hand up straight away and said I’m pretty sure that Dhoni will come out now and try and ice the game.”
DC will now take on the winners of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Eliminator for a place in the summit clash.