In Shikhar Dhawan, who had just completed his first T20 hundred, and all-rounder Axar Patel, DC had two left-handers at the crease with 17 runs required off the final over. But with Dwayne Bravo in the dressing room due to fitness issues, leg-spinner Karn Sharma and Jadeja were Dhoni’s only two genuine bowling options to bowl the 20th.
1, 6, 6, 2, 6
Five balls, 21 runs.
One of the great cameos from Axar Patel to see Delhi Capitals home with a ball to spare.pic.twitter.com/VatteFYe6m
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) October 17, 2020
And as it turned out, he called for the left-arm spinner to take the responsibility and Patel took him on, striking three sixes to seal the deal with a ball to spare. “Bravo was not fit. He went out and didn’t come back. The options were Jaddu and Karn. I went with Jaddu,” Dhoni revealed after the match.
But Twitter users were quick to point out that even with Bravo out, Shane Watson, who’d last bowled in the IPL in 2018 – 30 months ago, was an option along with Sharma as pitting a left-arm spinner against two left-handers was a suicidal move. Yohan Blake, Jamaican sprinter and Olympic gold medallist, also suggested that he “would have bowled Shane Watson”.
When you are in love and passionate about cricket it doesn't matter which team is playing. I support everyone! To all my Indian people, I love you all but I still would have bowled Shane Watson.
— Yohan Blake (@YohanBlake) October 17, 2020
Dhoni lost his mind? Why can't given to Shane watson in last over to bowl.he is good medium pacer defend 17 easily.poor strategy from MSD.
— Arun Kommasani (@ArunKommasani) October 17, 2020
Another user pointed out that Kedar Jadhav, who was reinstated to the CSK XI for the DC encounter, could have rolled his arm over as well, calling the last over fiasco “MS Dhoni’s brain-fade moment”.
But with the following that Dhoni enjoys, fans were quick to jump to his defence, pointing out that it was their fielding – Dhawan was dropped thrice during his 58-ball-101 – that cost CSK the match and not just the last over slip up.
@YohanBlake Never thought you will tweet about Cricket . Yeah bowling an leg spinner to two left handers is not a good choice. But he said he had no other option. Maybe he had a chat with Watson or not about bowling last over. The game was already lost with dropped catches.
— Aditya Desai (@ItsAd15) October 17, 2020
DC’s seventh win from nine games took them to the top position in the points table, while CSK, after their sixth defeat are in search of a dramatic turn-around to maintain their 100% qualification record to the IPL play-offs.