After Ajinkya Rahane's stunning knock of 71 off just 29 deliveries played a crucial role in Chennai Super Kings beating Kolkata Knight Riders by 49 runs, skipper MS Dhoni stated that the right-handed batter's success in IPL 2023 has come due to the team think-tank realising his potential and letting him bat the way he wishes to.
On Sunday, Rahane continued his glorious form when he smashed six fours and five sixes while sharing a fantastic stand of 85 runs off 32 balls for the third wicket with Shivam Dube, who also hit a 21-ball fifty as Chennai made 235/4.
"I think what's also important is that there is a lot of time when you realise the potential of someone and you let him bat the way he (Rahane) bats. The moment you start putting too much pressure on him, give (them) that liberty, these are the areas where your strength is.
Whatever your strength is, be positive, enjoy it, and I feel it always works out in the best possible manner.""Second thing is trying to give him the best position where he can score runs. If you put too many players out of position, they find it slightly difficult, but still, in a team environment, somebody has to sacrifice his slot so that most of the players they are able to play in a slot they are comfortable with," said Dhoni after the game ended.
With the ball, off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana and pacer Tushar Deshpande took two wickets each while Matheesha Pathirana, Akash Singh, Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja took a wicket each for Chennai in keeping Kolkata to 186/8.
"The fast bowlers they have been doing their job. One side was slightly short. So, we knew that they will be looking to get a bit aggressive. It was important to take wickets, and we were able to do that with the new ball."
"We always kept the pressure on the opposition, and that really helped us because, if you see their batting line-up, they have some very powerful hitters down the order. It's not really over till the 20th over is bowled.
So, you always want to give that extra respect to the opposition, especially if they have that kind of batting line up," added Dhoni.With the Eden Gardens turning up in a sea of yellow as Chennai went on top of the points table, Dhoni expressed his gratitude to the crowd upwards of 60,000 for supporting his team."
I would just say thanks for the support. They came in big numbers and you know most of them whenever there is a KKR game, they will be coming in a KKR jersey. So, you know that's for sure: they support their team."
"I think it's a one off where you know they are trying to give me a farewell by saying 'okay we will come. We'll be dressed in yellow.' But, yes, from my side, thanks a lot. It was great. So many yellows in one stadium, and especially since this is Kolkata, thanks to them."
Chennai's next game in IPL 2023 will be against Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on April 27.