‘We pick players who are team first’: MS Dhoni applauds team culture after CSK enters IPL Playoffs

After Chennai Super Kings sealed their IPL 2023 Playoffs spot by defeating Delhi Capitals by 77 runs on Saturday at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni credited the side’s culture when asked about their recipe for success.

Batting first, CSK were handed a blistering start by openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (79 runs) and Devon Conway (87) as the visitors raced to 140 for no loss in 14 overs. The side eventually ended up setting a target of 224. Despite opener David Warner scoring a valiant 86, Delhi’s chase never really took off, as the hosts slumped to 146/9 at the end of 20 overs.

CSK thus sealed a place in the playoffs and are favourites to finish in the top two. LSG will need to win by at least 96 runs if they score 200, and by 97 runs if they score 160 or 180 to usurp the second spot from CSK. In case they cannot do that, Chennai will face the Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1 at Chepauk.

In his post-match interaction, Dhoni was asked about what made the team click season after season, and he spoke of sacrifices the players had to make for the sake of the unit.

“There’s no recipe (for success). You try to pick the best players and give them the best slot where they have the most chances of performing. You groom them in areas where they are not strong. Some players may have to make sacrifices in their slot for the sake of the team. Have to say that the team management has always backed us. But the players are always important,” he said.

He went on to elaborate further: “I think we need to figure out and pick players who are team first. Ones that are not bothered about individual performances and perform their best at knockout stages. It is difficult to judge from the outside, we try and adjust to the players and environment as well. Even if the player can come 10 percent towards us (in terms of adjusting), we can adjust 50 percent to fit them better into the team.”

Dhoni also praised his bowlers Tushar Deshpande and Matheesha Pathirana.

While talking about death bowling, Dhoni added: “When it comes to death bowling, confidence is a very important factor. How many times can you execute the same skill under pressure. When you have the confidence, you can execute the skill more often than not. Behind the scenes a lot of work goes on (sharpening) death bowling. Look at Tushar, the way he has developed because he is able to execute under pressure, he has the confidence now. And when you keep playing the same players, it helps. I think the bowlers have also taken the responsibility, Pathirana is quite a natural to bowling at the death but Tushar has really developed there.”

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