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MS Dhoni shouldn’t play if he wants to bat at number nine: Harbhajan Singh

MS Dhoni shouldn’t play if he wants to bat at number nine: Harbhajan Singh

MS Dhoni shouldn’t play if he wants to bat at number nine: Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan & Dhoni Collage

MS Dhoni’s move to bat at No. 9 against Punjab Kings on May 5 at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium perplexed his former teammate Harbhajan Singh, who criticised the decision and said that CSK would be better served if they play a fast bowler instead in that position.

Dhoni has been in spectacular form this IPL and has a mind-boggling strike rate of 224.49. He has hit 10 fours and nine sixes from the 49 balls he has faced in IPL 2024. However, the 42-year-old has given himself a role in the lower-middle order, where he generally plays only a handful of deliveries and tries to accumulate as many runs as possible.

Last season he batted at No. 8 in some matches and the trend has continued. However, on Sunday, he came out to bat at No. 9 for the first time in his illustrious T20 career. He departed for a golden duck as Harshal Patel got the better of him with a dipping slower delivery that pegged the off-stump back.

Harbhajan said that Dhoni is the decision-maker in the team and criticised his call to bat at No. 9, even behind seam-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur. The former spinner felt that if Dhoni can’t bat above No. 9, CSK should pick a pacer instead of him.

“MS Dhoni shouldn’t play if he wants to bat at the number 9 slot. It is better to include a fast bowler than him in the playing XI. He is the decision-maker and has let down his team by not coming out to bat,” Harbhajan said on Star Sports. “Shardul Thakur came ahead of him. Thakur can never hit shots like Dhoni and I don’t understand why Dhoni made this mistake. Nothing happens without his permission and I am not ready to accept that this decision to demote him was taken by someone else.”

Also Read: MS Dhoni batting at No.9 doesn’t work for CSK: Irfan Pathan

CSK beat PBKS to stay within touching distance of playoffs

Chennai posted 167/9 on the back of Ravindra Jadeja’s 43 off 26 while captain Ruturaj Gaikwad (32 off 21) and Daryl Mitchell (30 off 19 ) also chipped in with handy contributions. Rahul Chahar and Harshal were the best bowlers on show for Punjab, as they bagged three wickets apiece.

In reply, Punjab lost two batters in the second over, including the in-form Jonny Bairstow. A 53-run partnership between Prabhsimran Singh and Shashank Singh helped them rebuild to an extent. However, after they departed in consecutive overs, wickets tumbled at regular intervals and the Kings were restricted to 139/9, losing by 28 runs. After his heroics with the bat, Jadeja produced a brilliant bowling display, as he picked up three wickets. Tushar Deshpande and Simarjeet Singh also grabbed two wickets apiece.

Also Read: Leading with three wickets against PBKS, Ravindra Jadeja showed he is an absolute-class player: Aaron Finch

CSK are currently placed at No. 3 on the points table. They will face Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad on Friday, May 10.

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