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IPL 2024: 'Don’t think Dhoni will come up the order despite hitting the ball well', opines Michael Clarke

IANS | April 01, 2024 03:51 PM

VISAKHAPATNAM: Former Australia captain Michael Clarke believes one many not see MS Dhoni batting higher up the order in the upcoming matches of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in IPL 2024, despite the veteran hitting the ball well to make a fantastic 37 not out against Delhi Capitals (DC) in the side’s 20-run defeat on Sunday evening.

"I don't think he will. I think he'll stay where he is. I think every MS Dhoni fan wants to see him as high up the order as possible. I think we’ve all said throughout his career, he should open the batting. But look, he’s at a stage of his career where he’s down from the captaincy. I don’t think he’ll come up the order.”

"I think if there’s a game on the line and he needs to go up the order because it’s what’s best for the team, I’m sure he will. But I think just because he’s hitting the ball so well, I don’t think you’ll see him batting in the top five or top six. I think he’s a genius at the dance. He’s probably the best finisher I’ve ever seen. So, I think they’ll continue to utilise him in that role, " said Clarke to broadcasters Star Sports.

Steve Smith, Clarke’s team-mate from Australia days, felt the otherwise following Dhoni’s impeccable knock against DC. "Let’s get him up the order. I think he did not miss the middle of the bat tonight. That was just incredible to witness. I think Jadeja, throughout the other end, was actually struggling to find the middle.

"They bowled really well to him but MS got there on strike. Obviously, in his first ball to the boundary and then from there, he just barely missed the middle of the bat. It was great to watch and I think the fans want to see him getting up the order and keep doing it more often, " he said.

Dhoni, who batted for the first time in the IPL 2024 season, smashed four fours and three sixes to be unbeaten on 37 off just 16 balls, striking at over 231, and even hit Anrich Nortje for 20 runs in the final over, giving his die-hard fans a lot to rejoice at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium on Sunday evening.

"Yeah, well, I think we have to be a little bit careful because Delhi won the game, but when MS Dhoni walks out, it felt like Chennai had won. The ground, the atmosphere, the noise when he walks onto the field is phenomenal. And again, I think it’s great that not only is he walking out to bat for his fans, but I think the way he played, he’s going to be needed (to do more of it).

"There’s no doubt about it, throughout this tournament and probably needed when they’re under maximum pressure, especially if he’s going to bat where he’s batting, down so low in the order. But again, his power, his timing, from ball one, first ball come out of the middle. So yeah, it was brilliant to see MS Dhoni out here and the fans certainly loved it, " he further said.

Smith further commented that Dhoni’s shots brought out a vintage look, offering a throwback to his free-flowing batting style seen in his long international career. "I liked the one of Khaleel where he went wide and he had to stand across with his front foot to get to the ball and hit it over cover. I don’t think I’ve seen him do that a great deal. He usually sort of clears his front leg a little bit, that’s just beautiful to watch.

"It was vintage cover drives almost in the air, in textbooks. So, just from ball one tonight, he just struck the ball beautifully. His first ball going for four, the crowd going berserk when he hit that first ball. And then from there, not many balls missed the middle of his bat. It was just beautiful to watch.”

"They're going to need him down in the lower order there. He's not going to face too many balls each game, but the ones he is going to face are going to be crucial balls. And I’m sure he’d be practicing in the nets, going from ball one, because that’s what he’s going to need to do. And we’ve seen that he’s still so good at it, " said Smith.

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